ERKENNEN

Submitted by John Ralph on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 2:54pm.

This is a tough one for English speakers to understand (verstanden). What is the difference between knowing (kennen) something and recognising (erkennen) something? Somehow recognition goes deeper and cuts through to the truth. I am not attempting accurate German here, just representing the words to be distinguished.

erkennen – distinguish, discern, recognise + realise

kennen – know, understand, be aware of

verstanden - understand 

Why does Steiner really mean when he uses erkennen? He certainly does not mean understanding (verstanden) when he writes erkennen. We need to recognise (erkennen) and understand (verstanden) these distinctions in the German text if we are to penetrate to the heart of the text (erkennen) in English.