Einstein's 'God Letter' Expected to Fetch 7 Figures at Auction

Einstein's 'God Letter' Expected to Fetch 7 Figures at Auction

He also acknowledged that while Einstein's letters and manuscripts appear relatively frequently at auction, documents of such importance do not.

A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein in which the physicist doubts the existence of God was auctioned yesterday for US$2.89 million (RM12 million).

A 1954 letter written by Albert Einstein and known as the "God letter" because he discussed his thoughts about religion has fetched close to US$2.9 million (NZ$4.2m) at an auction in NY.

"In the broadest sense, it is similar to Einstein's 1939 letter to (US president) F.D.R. warning of German efforts to build the bomb that we sold for $2 million in 2002", he added. He wrote: "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".

The letter is dated January 3, 1954, approximately a year before Einstein passed away at age 76. "As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power".

"Collectors worldwide competed very strongly, in the room, over the phone and online, for this finely curated auction which comprised masterpieces and fresh-to-market property across a wide range of subjects", said Sven Becker, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's. "Otherwise I can not perceive anything "chosen" about them", the letter says. The bidding for the letter ended at £170,000 ($217,000), with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins among the beaten bidders.

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

Albert Einstein, during a lecture in Vienna in 1921.

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.

Einstein was constantly questioned about his religious beliefs during his lifetime.

Spinoza believed not in an anthropomorphic God who intervened in daily lives, but in a God beyond description, one responsible for the sublime beauty and orderliness of the universe. 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".

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