Einstein letter doubting God auctioned for US$2.89m

GettyImages-3318683

GettyImages-3318683

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

Einstein wrote in response to Eric Gutkind's 1952 book, Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt, which he read at the behest of Dutch mathematician and philosopher L.E.J.

A picture taken on March 6, 2018 shows a signed letter by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein dated 1928 concerning the formalization of the "Third Stage of the Theory of Relativity" on display at Winner's auction house in Jerusalem, prior to being auctioned later in the night with the rest of a series of nine. The letter deals with Einstein's thoughts on religion, his Jewish identity, and his search for meaning in life.

It was a record for an Einstein letter and far surpassed its estimated value of $1-1.5m, auctioneers Christie's said.

In 2002, the auction house sold a typed letter from Einstein to former USA president Franklin Roosevelt for $US2 million ($2.7 million). But Einstein at times said he was not an atheist, and resented being labelled as one.

Specifically, Einstein did not believe that if there was a God, he answered individual prayers and intervened directly in human affairs.

"The Bible, a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends".

"For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition", he wrote.

Einstein goes on to write: "No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change anything about this".

The letter was last sold in 2008 to a private collector for $404,000, Christie's said. "Otherwise I can not perceive anything "chosen" about them", the letter says.