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?”