“The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses,” he writes. “The Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends.” It continues: “No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can [for me] change anything about this.” The physicist also muses on his own Jewish identity, writing that it is “like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition”.
“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,” he writes. It is not the first time Einstein’s letters have been put up for auction. In 2017, a note written to an Italian chemistry student who had refused to meet him sold for $6,100.
It was sold alongside a number of other letters from Einstein, including a 1928 note that went for $103,000, in which he set out his thoughts for his third stage of the theory of relativity. In 2017 again, a note in which he gave advice on happy living sold for $1.56 million in Jerusalem. Composed of a single sentence, it reads: “A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.”