(JTA) — Albert Einstein’s "God Letter," a handwritten missive offering his view of religion, will be sold this month on eBay.
The opening bid was set at $3 million, according to the Los Angeles-based Auction Cause, which is handling the sale. The auction will take place Oct. 8-18 at www.einsteinletter.com. It is being sold with the original envelope, stamp and postmark.
The letter was handwritten in German and sent on Princeton University letterhead, according to the auction house. It was sent in 1954 as a response to Eric B. Gutkind’s book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.”
"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish," Einstein wrote. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
"For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. 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. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them," he wrote of being Jewish.
Since the letter was purchased by an anonymous bidder from Bloomsbury Auctions in London in 2008 for $404,000, it has been stored at a professional academic institution that specializes in the care of cultural heritage collections in a temperature-, humidity- and light-controlled environment.