General Awareness

Einstein’s Hand-Written ‘God Letter’ Sold Out For $2.9 Million

Everything related to Albert Einstein seems to be precious and valuable as no one can expect any suspense over the worth of it. Whether it’s his brain or any study related work, everything produce news and demand over the masses.

A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein in which he grapples with the concept of religion has sold for nearly $2.9 million smashing predictions.

Written in 1954, the so-called “God letter” was expected to fetch $1.5 million at Christie’s Rockefeller Center auction in New York.

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist, then 74, wrote the one-and-a-half page note to German philosopher Eric Gutkind in response to one of his works.

It is seen as a key statement in the debate between science and religion.

“This remarkably candid, private letter was written a year before Einstein’s death and remains the most fully articulated expression of his religious and philosophical views,” a statement from Christie”s says.

It fetched almost double the auction house”s predicted price of up to 1.5 million.

In the letter, written in his native German, Einstein takes issue with the belief in God.

“The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses,” he writes. “The Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends.”

It continues: “No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can [for me] change anything about this.”

The physicist also muses on his own Jewish identity, writing that it is “like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition”.

“The Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and in whose mentality I feel profoundly anchored, still for me does not have any different kind of dignity from all other peoples,” he writes.

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

In 2017, a note written to an Italian chemistry student who had refused to meet him sold for $6,100.

It was sold alongside a number of other letters from Einstein, including a 1928 note that went for $103,000, in which he set out his thoughts for his third stage of the theory of relativity.

While Einstein is not widely known for his discussion of religion, the then-75-year-old was moved to write what Christie’s calls a “direct” and “unvarnished” letter on the topic after reading a book by Jewish philosopher, Eric Gutkind. Gutkind’s book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt ” had garnered a small following at the time.

Although he identified as Jewish, Einstein did not agree with Gutkind about the role of God in an individual’s life and a person’s free will. In the letter, Einstein complained that Gutkind’s book was “written in a language which is inaccessible to me.”

The letter reads: “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change anything about this.”

Once made public, the “God letter” became Einstein’s single most famous letter on the subject of God, his Jewish identity and man’s eternal search for meaning, according to Christie’s. The letter was previously sold for $404,000 when it surfaced in 2008 and was again auctioned on eBay with a starting price of $3 million in 2012 (though it appears to have not been sold at that time). It’s also just one of several artifacts of Einstein’s have been sold over the past year.

Despite Einstein’s critique of Gutkind’s religious and philosophical approach, he noted the two shared common views when describing what people strive for in life: “an ideal that goes beyond self-interest” and a “release from ego-oriented desires,” among other things.

Ultimately, Einstein said he’d be able to put his differences aside, reflecting the scientist’s rational nature, which many grew to respect.

“What divides us is only intellectual padding,” he wrote.

 

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