Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Albert Einstein’s 1954 ‘God Letter’ Auctioned For $2.9 Million

Albert Einstein’s 1954 ‘God Letter’ Auctioned For $2.9 Million

It will be auctioned by Christie's in NY, the BBC reported.

Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson warned against considering this letter definitive of Einstein's beliefs, saying the theoretical physicist had written on the subject multiple times, and was not always consistent. The letter, which was auctioned off by Christie's on Tuesday, was expected to sell for between $1 million and $1.5 million.

The letter was written to the German philosopher Eric Gutkind regarding his book entitled "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt".

Christie's auction house in NY said on Tuesday that the letter, including the buyer's premium, fetched USA $2.89 million under the hammer.

Einstein, who was a German-born Jew, also acknowledges his love and shared identity with the Jewish people, but calls Judaism, "like all other religions.an incarnation of primitive superstition".

"As far as my experience goes, they are in fact no better than other human groups, even if they are protected from the worst excesses by a lack of power".

Einstein was unequivocal in his critique of Gutkind's book in his letter.


The letter remained among Gutkind's papers until it came up for auction in London in 2008-43 years after the philosopher died.

Not surprisingly, Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist who authored "The God Delusion", once pursued this very letter.

Albert Einstein, during a lecture in Vienna in 1921.

"While Einstein letters and manuscripts appear with some frequency at auction, those of great importance and significance do not", said Klarnet.

The letter has thus been cited as evidence of Einstein's atheism, but at other points in his life the famous mathematician himself dismissed the label.

While Einstein acknowledges that he and Gutkind had a lot in common "with regard to the factual attitude to life and to human community", he launches into a personal diatribe against religion. This god "reveals himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind".

On another occasion, he criticised "fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics".

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