Albert Einstein 'God letter' sells for $2.9 million

The letter was written in German and had previously been sold in 2008 for $404,000

The buyer's identity has not been revealed.

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.

In the letter, Einstein says that for him, the word God is "nothing but the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of venerable but still primitive legends".

It was a record for an Einstein letter and far surpassed its estimated value of $1.0-1.5 million, Christie's said.

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

Experts at Christie's auction house in NY had previously estimated the so-called "God letter" could sell for up to $1.5 million.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

The son of secular Ashkenazi Jews and forced to flee Germany after Adolf Hitler took power, Einstein did not exclude Judaism from his critique.

"For me the unadulterated Jewish religion is, like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people", he wrote.

The letter was last sold in 2008 to a private collector for US$404,000, Christie's said.

The letter, which was sold at Christie's on Tuesday, was written the year before the Nobel prize-winning physicist's death. "Otherwise I can not perceive anything "chosen" about them", the letter says.

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.

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