Einstein letter doubting God auctioned for $2.89m

The famous handwritten'God letter from scientist Albert Einstein

The famous handwritten'God letter from scientist Albert Einstein

The missive became known as the "God letter" and it sold at auction in NY on Tuesday for a hammer price of $2.4 million (£1.9 million, AU$3.3 million), though the full price with buyer's premium and fees came out closer to $2.9 million.

The letter, which was auctioned off by Christie's on Tuesday, was expected to sell for between $1 million and $1.5 million. That was nearly twice the expected amount.

"The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends", writes the physicist, best known for his theory of relativity.

The sentence has been hailed as evidence that the physicist, one of the 20th century's most esteemed thinkers, was an atheist.

It is not the first time Einstein's letters have been put up for auction.

"No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change anything about this", Einstein wrote. "And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people", he wrote.

"I can not see anything "chosen" about them".

The "God letter" passed into the hands of Gutkind's heirs, who kept the letter until it was sold at auction in 2008 for $404,000.

Acknowledging his disappointment in failing to secure the item, Dawkins said: "This letter was about something very important to Einstein I suspect".

Walter Isaacson, the author of the 2007 biography "Einstein: His Life and Universe", said the great man's views on religion are hard to pin down. He observed diplomatically that he and Gutkind both believed in the importance of a strong moral foundation that rose above self-interest and instead sought to benefit humanity, while rejecting materialism as an end.

"As so often during his life, he refused and disturbed the accepted categories".

On another occasion, he criticised "fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics". His cosmic religion and distant deistic God fits neither the agenda of religious believers or that of tribal atheists.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.