The Primacy of Morality Over Ritual in the Prophets

February 29, 2024 $0.00 - $18.00
Rabbi Dr. Jeremiah Unterman


The polytheism of the ancient Near East conceived of the gods as natural beings who needed sacrifices and libations to physically sustain them. The ethical monotheism of the Torah created a revolution against paganism which would ultimately change forever the concept of religion. One of the key ways in which the Jewish prophets shaped this revolution was their unique understanding of the relationship between ethics and ritual.


Since 2013, Rabbi Dr. Jeremiah Unterman has been Resident Scholar at the Herzl Institute, and the Academic Editor of The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel (since 2017). From 2000-2006, he was the Director of the Association of Modern Orthodox Day Schools and Yeshiva High Schools, and Adjunct Professor of Bible at Yeshiva University. He also served as Executive Director of the Toronto Board of Jewish Education and Vice-President for Education of UJA Federation of Toronto, as well as Director of Education of the Hillel Academy of Ottawa. From 1992-1997, he was Executive Director of the Commission on Jewish Education and Director of Boston’s Hebrew College Hartford Branch, Connecticut.  He was the Director and Associate Professor of the Jewish Studies Program at Barry University (Miami, Florida) from 1983-1992.  He received his B.A. in Hebraic Studies from Rutgers University, an M.A. in Bible from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. in the Judaica Program of the Near Eastern Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He received semicha through private studies in Israel.

He has authored two books, Justice for All: How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics, and From Repentance to Redemption: Jeremiah’s Thought in Transition and over 100 articles in scholarly publications in the U.S. and Israel. He has lectured frequently at scholarly conferences in the United States and Israel, such as the World Congress of Jewish Studies, the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, and the annual meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies, and at numerous universities in the U.S. and Israel.

He is a citizen of both the United States and Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces. He lives in Jerusalem, Israel, with his wonderful wife, Judy.

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Thursday, February 29, 2024, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
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