Einstein ‘God Letter’ could sell for at least $6 million
A letter known as the Einstein “God Letter” went on sale on EBay yesterday.
The authenticated letter, which was hand-written by Albert Einstein in German, had an opening bid of $3 million within minutes of being listed for a 10-day auction, according to a report from Reuters.
According to the listing, the auction is for the original, handwritten, in German, letter and envelope, sent from Princeton NJ, to Eric B. Gutkind, on January 3, 1954, a year before Einstein passed away, sent as response to Gutkind’s book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt”.
The letter is shockingly unique as, in it, Einstein is honest about his views on the Bible, which he says is made up of “childish legends”, and in stating he does not believe Jews are “God’s chosen people”. It was written to Erik Gutkind after Einstein read the philosopher’s latest book and disagreed with much of the content.
I read a great deal in the last days of your book, and thank you very much for sending it to me. What especially struck me about it was this. With regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common.
Key Passages Include:
… 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 which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. 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. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.
In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.
Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual ‘props’ and ‘rationalization’ in Freud’s language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.
With friendly thanks and best wishes,
Yours, A. Einstein
The anonymous owner of the letter bought it at a London auction in 2008 for just over $400,000. He expects it could eventually sell on EBay for at least $6 million. It is being sold with the original envelope and postmarked stamp.
Anyone who wishes to bid must be pre-approved and may have to give the selling agency a deposit via PayPal before their bid will be accepted.