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Einstein and Religion


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii Introduction 3 CHAPTER 1 Einstein's Religiosity and the Role of Religion in His Private Life 13 CHAPTER 2 Einstein's Philosophy of Religion 65 CHAPTER 3 Einstein's Physics and Theology 153 Appendix 267 Index 269

Promotional Information

No other work offers as broad an account of Einstein's views on the relationship between science and religion or brings together all of the different facets of the topic in one short, easily accessible account. Einstein and Religion also offers a badly needed critique of some of the many misinterpretations and misuses of Einstein's views. Professor Jammer is a noted scholar, science historian, and philosopher with the credentials to write authoritatively on this subject. -- David Cassidy, author of "Uncertainty: The Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg"

About the Author

Max Jammer is Professor of Physics Emeritus and former Rector at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He is the author of a number of treatises on the foundations of physics, including "Concepts of Space", which contains a preface by Albert Einstein, and "The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics", which was read in draft by Paul Dirac and Werner Heisenberg. For his publications, most of which have been translated into several languages, Jammer has received numerous awards, among them the prestigious Monograph Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In writing "Einstein and Religion", Jammer used as his sources the Einstein Archive at the National and University Library in Jerusalem and the library of the Union Theological Seminary in New York.


Given the voluminous literature on Albert Einstein (including more than a dozen biographies in the 1990s alone), it is surprising that so little scholarly attention has been paid to the scientist's religious views. Israeli physics professor Jammer, who knew Einstein personally, shows us an Einstein whose nominal childhood faith turned to atheism while preparing for a bar mitzvah that never took place. From then on, Einstein's religious views were a bundle of apparent contradictions: he corresponded with the world's great spiritual leaders yet disapproved of religious instruction for his sons, arguing that it was "contrary to all scientific thinking." He claimed that "science without religion is lame" but never set foot in a synagogue and requested not to be buried in the Jewish tradition. While eluding definitive conclusions about Einstein's deistic "cosmic religion," Jammer demonstrates that religion fascinated the man throughout his career, prompting him to publish articles in the New York Times and elsewhere. Chapters 1 and 2 profile Einstein's religious development and the controversial reception his ideas found with theologians, rabbis and Christian clergy. The more recondite chapter 3 explores the theological implications of Einstein's theories (Jammer does not exaggerate when he cautions the reader that this section "requires some familiarity with the foundations of modern physics"). Jammer's writing is not always as sophisticated as his ideas; he relies too heavily on long quotations from other sources and abstruse jargon. In all, though, this is a compelling, long overdue treatment of a neglected topic. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Co-Winner of the 2000 Outstanding Book Prize, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences "It is surprising that so little scholarly attention has been paid to [Einstein's] religious views... This is a compelling, long overdue treatment of a neglected topic."--Publishers Weekly "A valuable resource."--George L. Murphy, American Scientist "Jammer's fascinating and scholarly account of Einstein's personal attitude toward religion explores the emergence of his 'cosmic religion'..."--Choice "Jammer is an excellent guide to the religious impact of Einstein's life and thought."--Greg Peterson, Christian Century "A superb three-part survey that deals with the role of religion in Einstein's personal life; his philosophy of religion; and finally the effect of his physics on theology, the most brilliantly entertaining section of Jammer's book."--Meir Ronnen, The Jerusalem Post "Max Jammer illuminates Einstein's enigmatic relationship to religion with a clarity and detail that no previous study can equal... Mr. Jammer's readable study should long remain an indispensable reference..."--John F. Haught, The Washington Times "Jammer ... shed[s] light on Einstein's often ambiguous views of religion, beginning with his early religious training and following his evolution to the idea of an impersonal God. [He] takes pains to clarify widespread misinterpretations of Einstein's spiritual views..."--Leigh Fenly, San Diego Union-Tribune "I can strongly recommend this beautifully written and accessible book."--Andrew Pinsent, Physics World "One emerges from this scholarly and readable book with a new appreciation of the uniqueness of Einstein's spirit."--Gerald Holton, Philosophy of Science "Max Jammer's is the first systematic historical account of Albert Einstein's religious views... In the writing of this thoroughly researched and instructive book, Max Jammer has done the theological and scientific community a great service. Furthermore, he has made a significant contribution to the ongoing dialogue between science and religion."--Rufus Burrow, Jr., Encounter

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