I recently was reading about the council of trent, and the concept of open and closed canon. I discovered that in Trent Rome condemned luther for removing books that were already agreed to be inspired, but there seems to be a popular opinion that rome has never condemned the orthodox church for adding books to their canons.
my understanding of the canon is that the whole purpose of introducing one (way back when, in the 300s or 400s) was to combat the gnostic heresies by defining exactly what is inspired and what isn’t. Perhaps this is incorrect and the purpose of the canon was always to affirm some books and deny some books, but never to affirm some books whilst denying “all other books”.
so theoretically, my highschool maths textbook could be inspired if it was demonstrated to have apostolic authority and be agreed upon by the early church. Obviously this is an absurd example but hopefully my point is clear.
More importantly, this opens the door to potential reconciliation with the orthodox churches, who have different canons (do they even have an idea of “canon” at all? or is there merely “scripture”? To what extent do they consider scripture to be “inspired?”). The question of scripture I understand to be a smaller issue between the catholic and orthodox churches. Is there the possibility that rome could at some point widen their canon to conform to the orthodox, or that the orthodox churches could narrow their canons to conform to the catholic one? (for practical purposes, I would say “no” because the catholic canon has been agreed upon for so long that it would be very hard indeed to justify adding new books. But so far I haven’t seen a theological reason why this couldn’t happen at some point in the future.)
Finally, I was wondering if anyone could direct me to some examples of the church explicitly denying a given scripture as being canonical. (for example the gnostic gospels? or the Muslim gospels? Or the book of mormon? Did the church ever explicitly say “no”?)
Bonus insightful quote which I stumbled across somewhere on here:
Books may not be added to the canon. The belief is that books of scripture we don’t know about yet may exist, and even if we don’t know about them, if they’re scripture, they’re already part of the canon. So the discovery of another book of the bible would not be an addition to the canon - much like canonizing a saint does not make that person into a saint. They already were one. It’s just a declaration that now we know they’re a saint.