The famous "letter of God" handwritten by Albert Einstein the year before his death was sold three times the amount expected Tuesday in New York City.
The "letter of God", which became known only as such in 2008, went to $ 2,892,500 including the buyer's premium to a nameless buyer, after being sold between $ 1- $ 1.5 million by Christie & # 39; sa Manhattan.
Einstein wrote the letter to the religious philosopher Erik Gutkind in 1954 as a critical response to his book that challenged "a disillusioned generation to" prepare the world for the Kingdom of God "."
In it, Einstein referred to religion, and specifically to Judaism, as "infantile superstition" born of "human weakness".
The famous "letter of God" handwritten by Albert Einstein the year before his death was sold for $ 2,892,500 at the Tuesday auction in New York City
The letter was written in German by the famous scientist, in the year that led to his death on April 18, 1955.
He wrote it in response to the 1952 Gutkind book, "Choose Life: the Biblical Call to Revolt."
Although Einstein was born into a Jewish family in Germany, he lost faith at a young age.
Sometimes throughout his life, Einstein went so far as to refer to himself as an agnostic, which is defined as "believing that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or the nature of God or something at the beyond material phenomena ".
Another way of saying it, according to Dictionary.com, is to believe that "human knowledge is limited to experience".
In the letter, translated and transcribed by Christie & # 39; s, writes:
"The word God for me is nothing but the expression and the product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable but purely primitive legends that are nevertheless rather childish."
He adds: "No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change something about it".
The "letter of God", which became known only as such in 2008, was supposed to sell between $ 1- $ 1.5 million from Christie's in Manhattan
In the letter written in German, Einstein called religion in general, and in particular Judaism, "infantile superstition" born of "human weakness"
The above passage is the only time in the one and a half page document that Einstein uses the word "God" in his analysis of religion in general, his Jewish heritage and his personal opinions on the meaning of life.
While the scientist continued to identify himself as a Jew throughout his life, he was critical of the faith, and the "letter of God" gave no exceptions to it.
"For me the pristine Jewish religion is, like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition," he wrote.
"And the Jewish people to whom I belong willingly and in whose mentality I feel deeply anchored, still does not have any kind of dignity different from all other peoples." As far as my experience is concerned, they are not really better than other human groups. , even if they are protected from the worst excesses by the lack of power, otherwise I can not perceive anything "chosen" on them.
Gutkind's book, however, had stated that "the Jewish soul is intellectually and spiritually perfect," according to a review written in Commentary Magazine in August 1952, which was subsequently published online.
And while Einstein challenged this idea, he noted in the letter that he and Gutkind shared common views "about the factual attitude towards life and the human community".
To date, Christie & # 39; has described the so-called "letter of God" as "a definitive statement in the ongoing debate between religion and science".
The letter became known to the public in 2008, according to the New York Times, when it was sold at the auction in London for $ 404,000, after being in the hands of the heirs of Gutkind, after his death in 1965.
It was at that time that it became known as the "letter of God".
It was put on sale on eBay in 2012 for $ 3 million, although the results of that sale are not known.
Christie & # 39; s said that the person who bought the letter in London in 2008 is the person who sold it on Tuesday.