Justice for All How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics

About the Book

Justice for All demonstrates that the Jewish Bible, by radically changing the course of ethical thought, came to exercise enormous influence on Jewish thought and law and also laid the basis for Christian ethics and the broader development of modern Western civilization.

Jeremiah Unterman shows us persuasively that the ethics of the Jewish Bible represents a significant moral advance over Ancient Near East cultures. Moreover, he elucidates how the Bible’s unique conception of ethical monotheism, innovative understanding of covenantal law, and revolutionary messages from the prophets form the foundation of many Western civilization ideals. Justice for All connects these timeless biblical texts to the persistent themes of our times: immigration policy, forgiveness and reconciliation, care for the less privileged, and attaining hope for the future despite destruction and exile in this world.


A wonderful work; insightful and important. Jeremiah Unterman never loses sight of the fact that the Bible’s goal is to create a holy, moral people. He convincingly demonstrates again and again that this is not just a modern reading of the Bible, but a statement of its original intent. 

— Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy, Biblical Literacy, and Rebbe

Take notice. Jeremiah Unterman has written a major book that expertly documents the supremacy of the ethical in the Hebrew Bible. It will affect not only how you understand the Bible, but how you live your life. 

— Dennis Prager, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and bestselling author of 6 books, including The Ten Commandments: Still the Greatest Moral Code

What makes this a particularly worthy contribution is its clarity and rigor, organized by topics that are so relevant today: how we treat the stranger, forgiveness, reconciliation, and repentance and redemption.

—Dru Johnson, associate professor of biblical and theological studies at The King’s College and author of Epistemology and Biblical Theology

The enduring value of this book is that it demonstrates the moral imperative that stands at the foundation of the Hebrew Bible and of Judaism.

—Marvin A. Sweeney, professor of Hebrew Bible at the Claremont School of Theology and editor of The Cambridge History of Religions in the Ancient World, volume 1.


Jeremiah Unterman

Jeremiah Unterman is a resident scholar at the Herzl Institute, Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and From Repentance to Redemption: Jeremiah’s Thought in Transition.

Book Reviews

  • Read a review by Stu Halpern of Jewish Book Council.

    “His work is certain to inspire readers to seek further study of the Bible.”


  • OnScript podcast with Jeremiah Unterman, author of ‘Justice for All’

    Many are often surprised to find out that Jesus did not invent the ideal of loving our neighbor as ourselves, rather he is quoting Leviticus from the Torah. 

  • The books of the Hebrew Bible were written thousands of years ago in a very different world from ours. Already in the Middle Ages, respected Jewish thinkers like Moses Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra realized that the more we know about the ancient Near East in biblical times, the better we understand the nuances of the biblical text. Maimonides went to great efforts to describe accurately what non-Jewish life was like in biblical times, often referring to the book, The Nabatean Agriculture, a dubious work that was the best that he could find.



  • Read mention in Publisher’s Weekly

    In Justice for All: How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics (Jewish Publication Society, Mar. 2017), Jeremiah Unterman shows that, in its moral understandings, the Old Testament reflected a radical advance over writings of other ancient Near Eastern civilizations.

  • Read article about new biblical scholarship in Publisher’s Weekly

    Justice for All: How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics by Jeremiah Unterman (Jewish Publication Society, Mar. 2017) demonstrates that the Jewish Bible, by radically changing the course of ethical thought, came to exercise enormous cultural influence.”

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