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Gandhi letter about Jesus sold by Pennsylvania autograph dealer

Stephen Huba
| Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 1:27 p.m.
Mahatma Gandhi talks to a crowd in India in 1931, five years after writing a letter that recently sold for $50,000.
Mahatma Gandhi talks to a crowd in India in 1931, five years after writing a letter that recently sold for $50,000.

A letter from Mahatma Gandhi in which he called Jesus "one of the great teachers of mankind" has been sold to a collector for $50,000, according to the Pennsylvania-based Raab Collection .

The buyer was not disclosed by the Ardmore-based dealer in historic documents and autographs.

The faded, typewritten letter, dated April 6, 1926, was written to American minister Milton Newberry Frantz and is reputed to be the only letter offered for sale in which Gandhi referenced Jesus, the Raab Collection said.

Frantz, of Norristown, had written to Gandhi, a devout Hindu, asking him to read something he had written about Christianity.

The Raab Collection sold a letter from Mahatma Gandhi for $50,000,.

Raab Collection


Writing from the Sabarmati ashram in the western Indian state of Gujurat, Gandhi replied:

"Dear Friend, I have your letter. I am afraid it is not possible for me to subscribe to the creed you have sent me. The subscriber is made to believe that the highest manifestation of the unseen reality was Jesus Christ. In spite of all my efforts, I have not been able to feel the truth of that statement. I have not been able to move beyond the belief that Jesus was one of the great teachers of mankind. Do you not think that religious unity is to be had not by a mechanical subscription to a common creed but by all respecting the creed of each? In my opinion, difference in creed there must be so long as there are different brains. But what does it matter if all these are hung upon the common thread of love and mutual esteem?

"I return the stamp kindly sent by you. It cannot be used in India."

The Raab Collection called the letter "one of the finest letters on religion that Gandhi ever wrote, not merely dealing specifically with Christianity, but going even further to espouse a universalist doctrine of respect for all faiths and beliefs."

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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