Albert Einstein and Jesus

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Albert Einstein’s mental prowess made him an icon for the disciplines of Science. As a Jew, Einstein had distinct views on Jesus, the New Testament, and the Church. Below is a clip of an interview from the Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929:   

“To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?

As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.

Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus?

Emil Ludwig’s Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot [a witty remark].

You accept the historical existence of Jesus?

Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”

In a letter to the Episcopal Bishop Edward R. Wells in 1945, Einstein wrote concerning the behavior of the Christian Church during the Holocaust.

“Being a lover of freedom… I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly”~Baltimore Evening Sun, April 13, 1979.

This is one Jew’s view of Jesus. I am aware there are many views of Jesus in the Jewish world. Some despise Him, some admire Him from a far, some secretly believe, and some radically follow Him. 

The Jewish High Holy Days begin this week–a time of a new beginnings and joy, a time of repentance, and a time of accounting for actions. A time when Jews all over the world are looking for redemption and for the opportunity to turn over a new leaf in the new year. They pray their “good deeds” will outweigh their “bad deeds.”

The prophet Zechariah said of his own people that someday “They will mourn Him whom they pierced…”  Jew or gentile, all our sins have pierced Him.

It seems that Einstein was “almost persuaded” to believe in Jesus as King Agrippa in the book of Acts.

In his “enthrallment with the luminous Nazarene,” I wonder if Einstein ever considered “that He was pierced?” 


17 thoughts on “Albert Einstein and Jesus

  1. Absolutely fascinating! I had never come across this interview before. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I will be deploying the quote: “No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot,” in the very near future, I’m sure.

  2. Jesus es nuetro Salvador y Einstein un cientifico muy ilustrado en el campo de la Ciencia. Ambos son Judios. Ello quiere decir que el pensamiento judio es muy luminoso en la humanidad, porque si usted busca los grandes pensadores y cientificos de la humanidad sus raices estan sembradas en el Judaismo. No hay la menor Duda, por eso Einstein es un gran aporte para la humanidad en un sentido positivo, porque su ciencia tambien vale para el mal, pero como en la ciencia buscamos lo positivo, El dio un gran giro a la ciencia en cuanto a la energia, a la ciebrnetrica y la electronica, aunque el tiene una profecia que el mundo en el futuro camina entre piedras y palos.

  3. I doubt Einstein came close to believing in Jesus as the messiah. Einstein was not religious and believed only in a “cosmic” god, which is more in line with Buddhism than any other religion.

  4. It is my view that putting into practise the behaviors that Jesus taught (forgiveness, welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick, sticking your neck out for justice, honouring the “lowly”, doing good to your enemy and so on) and I mean really doing it, not just believing in it or teaching it, OPENS a “cosmic” door in our hearts to a magic world, way way beyond mere religion and belief.

  5. Hello!

    That is a very nice photograph in your most recent post!

    My name is Anders Branderud, I am 23 years and I am from Sweden. I have practised Orthodox Judaism through Netzarim (www.netzarim.co.il) in Ra’anana in Israel (led by the Orthodox Jew Paqid Yirmeyahu ha-Tzadiq), who are followers of Ribi Yehoshua – the Messiah – since 2007-05. Before that I was a devoted Christian for 6 years.

    So what did the historical Jesus teach? His name was Ribi Yehoshua.

    The research of world-recognized authorities (for example Barrie Wilson; ) in this area implies that Ribi Yehoshua was a Pharisee (a Torah-practising Jewish group) – who according to 4Q MMT (a Scroll found in the Qumran-caves) practised both written and oral Torah.

    That Ribi Yehoshua was a Pharisee implies that you need to practise his Torah-teachings if want to follow him. You do that by practising Torah (including oral Torah; see “Mishpat” and “Halakhah” at Glossaries in the first page at the above website)!

    Ribi Yehoshua warned for false prophets who don’t produce good fruit = defined as don’t practise the commandments in Torah according to Halakhah (oral Torah; see “Mishpat” and “Halakhah” at Glossaries in the first page at the abvove website). See Devarim (Deuteronomy) 13:1-6.

    To quote the first century Ribi Yehoshua: “Happy are they to be who hunger and thirst after tzedaqah [justness according to Torah; that is practising the מצות in תורה (Torah)], for they shall be filled of it.” [The Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu 5:3].

    All the best,

    From Anders Branderud

  6. One important clarification:

    The historical J*esus is not le-havdil (to differentiate) Ribi Yehoshua.

    The historical J*esus is an oxymoron. There was a historical Pharisaic first century leader named le-havdil (to differentiate) Ribi Yehoshua. This is not the same person as the Christian J*esus.

    My initial post is about Ribi Yehoshua.

    No one can follow two polar-opposite masters — the authentic, historical, PRO-Torah 1st-century Ribi from Nazareth and the 4th-century (post-135 C.E.), arch-antithesis ANTI-Torah apostasy developed by the Hellenists (namely the Sadducees and Roman pagans who conspired to kill Ribi Yәhoshua, displaced his original followers and redacted the NT).

    Logic dictates that the burden of proof is on the person that wants to state that Ribi Yehoshua is the same person as le-havdil (to differentiate) J*esus.

    When Christians who are reading this realize the above you can start follow the historical Ribi Yehoshua by practising Torah non-selectively. That is indeed meaningful; and everyone that loves ha-Sheim – the Creator of the universe – does his or her utmost to practise Torah (the words of תורה implies this.).

    From Anders Branderud
    Geir Toshav, Netzarim in Ra’anana in Israel (www.netzarim.co.il) whom are followers of Ribi Yehoshua – the Messiah – in Orthodox Judaism

  7. Great Post Bonnie. In my opinion the quote,”No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” indicates that not only was Jesus the real messiah, but that he still lives and life pulsates from his words. Jesus is the living word of God.

    John 1:1-2 (King James Version)
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    The same was in the beginning with God.

    Einstein believed in Jesus…and even if he did not admit it to the world…he certainly admitted to the father himself.

  8. It is a scandal, but the great scientists’ belief in God and Christ are universally ignored in academia. Isaac Newton is one example, as is George Washington Carver, which should incense black Christians in America. But then Carver did not see Jesus as a social revolutionary.

  9. What an encouragement to know the depths of great minds – who honored TRUTH and placed MORALITY on a higher pedestal – ” a luminous figure ” A pulsating personality” such a life can never be a myth–such comments reveal his passion and devotion to truth contrasted with ‘dilution’ of truth – I am from the land of Gandhi whose “experiment with Truth” is a well known fact- unfortunately the self righteousness of ‘some christians’ took Gandhi away from this religeon but I still feel that he practiced the sermon on the mount than many nominal ones like me — because if he was trying out ‘Truth’ even with out his knowing he was just trying out Jesus as He is the truth, the way and the life— –Jeyachandran.

  10. The greatest mind of the century in science can be completely wrong on other subjects. Einstein never claimed to have any background in religious endeavors nor did he claim to go through proofs and disproofs of God’s relationship with the world. God doesent need Einstein do agree or disagree with his existence, and a person hoping he concurs only shows his lack of understanding.

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