Albert Einstein, writing in 1954, dismissed Judaism and other religions as "an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," though he said he gladly belonged to the Jewish people and felt a deep affinity for the Jews' "mentality," excerpts published on Tuesday showed.
Einstein also said he saw nothing "chosen" about the Jews, and that they were no better than other peoples "although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power."
The renowned physicist, who died a little more than a year after writing the letter, also had tough words for God and the Bible, according to the text published by the British The Guardian daily.
"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish," the letter was quoted as saying. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."
The letter, written in German in January, 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, is to be auctioned in London on Thursday, the paper said. Written in Einstein's hand, the letter, which has been in private hands for more than half a century, reportedly could sell for as much as 8,000 pounds sterling.
Turning to Judaism, Einstein wrote that "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."
Tip o' the hat to JP Perry.