Possible Error in TextBook. When was canon dogmatically proclaimed inerrant

In the text book “Understanding the Scriptures: The Didache Series” it states that the Council of Trent was the council which proclaimed scripture inerrant and that one cannot take away any book within the canon. It also states the Council of Florence was one of the councils which came up with the canon of scripture, I was always under the opinion that it was neither Trent or Florence which did this, but the Council of Nicae. Please help me understand this…

Nicea’s focus was more on the Trinity. You may be thinking of the councils at Rome, Hippo, and Carthage in the late 4th/early 5th centuries. Those being regional councils means they did not formally pronounce a dogma for the whole Church to hold.

However - lest my statement be amputated from context - one could argue that from those early councils there was henceforth sound continuity throughout the Church, and one could see the Ordinary Magisterium at work beginning with those councils. So you could argue the current canon was settled at that time.

Trent merely stated what was the already existing canon for centuries. And Trent actually says it is merely restating what had been passed on for centuries to remove any doubt that one might have. (the Synod) following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament–seeing that one God is the author of both --as also the said traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. And it has thought it meet that a list of the sacred books be inserted in this decree, lest a doubt may arise in any one’s mind, which are the books that are receivedSee text of Trent on Scriptures here.

Hi Super,

You will note that the decree speaks of having RECEIVED the canon. The Catholic Church did not APPROVE the Scriptures; it received them from apostolic sources.

Trent did not decide all of a sudden that these were the true scriptures. It merely reiterated the consensus of the Church throughout the centuries.


thank you both. I really appreciate this. God bless!

Here are the (abbreviated due to length constraints for posts) Declarations and Council decrees down through the ages.

The doctrine of inerrancy flows very naturally from the Church’s teaching that Scripture is the Word of God.
The first passages cited by Jurgens is from the 1st Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. St. Clement was the third pope after St. Peter. St. Clement of Rome, First Letter to the Corinthians (ca. AD 80): “Brethren, be contentious and zealous for the things which lead to salvation! You have studied the Holy Scriptures, which are true and are of the Holy Spirit. You well know that nothing unjust or fraudulent is written in them. [45,1]”
Next, he cites from St. Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, (ca AD 155): “[That the Scriptures contradict each other] – I will not have the effrontery at any time either to suppose or to say such a thing. If a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and there be a pretext for regarding it as contradictory, since I am totally convinced that no Scripture is contradictory to another, I shall admit instead that I do not understand what is spoken of, and shall strive to persuade those who assume that the Scriptures are contradictory to be rather of the same opinion as myself." [65]”
From St. Irenaeus’ Against Heresies (ca. AD 180/199):

Holy Scripture was declared inerrant by and as a result of the Decree of Pope St. Damasus 1 at the Council of Rome in 382 A.D.
The Decree of Pope St. Damasus I, Council of Rome. 382 A.D…
It is likewise decreed: Now, indeed, we must treat of the divine Scriptures: what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she must shun. . . .
The list of the Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament, which the holy and Catholic Church receives: of the Gospels, one book according to Matthew, one book according to Mark, one book according to Luke, one book according to John. The Epistles of the Apostle Paul, fourteen in number: one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Ephesians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Galatians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus one to Philemon, one to the Hebrews. Likewise, one book of the Apocalypse of John. And the Acts of the Apostles, one book. Likewise, the canonical Epistles, seven in number: of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles; of the Apostle James, one Epistle; of the Apostle John, one Epistle; of the other John, a Presbyter, two Epistles; of the Apostle Jude the Zealot, one Epistle. Thus concludes the canon of the New Testament.
Likewise it is decreed: After the announcement of all of these prophetic and evangelic or as well as apostolic writings which we have listed above as Scriptures, on which, by the grace of God, the Catholic Church is founded, we have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other Churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The Council of Hippo in 393 reaffirmed the canon put forth by Pope Damasus I…
AD 393:
Council of Hippo. "It has been decided that besides the canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture.
(canon 36 A.D. 393).

The Third Council of Carthage reaffirmed anew, the Canon put forth by Pope Damasus I…
AD 397:
Council of Carthage III. "It has been decided that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures.
(canon 47 A.D. 397).
More links home.inreach.com/bstanley/canon.htm
Bible Canon Councils Approving
From: catholicapologetics.org/ap031100.htm
Council of Rome (382)
Local church council under the authority of Pope Damasus, (366-384) gave a complete list of canonical books of the OT and NT which is identical with the list later approved by the Council of Trent.
Council of Hippo (393)
Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of OT and NT canon (same as later approved by the Council of Trent)
Council of Carthage (397)
Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of OT and NT canon (same as later approved by the Council of Trent)
Pope Innocent I, Bishop of Rome, 401-417 (405)
Responded to a request by Exuperius, Bishop of Toulouse, with a list of canonical books of Scripture; this list was the same as later approved by the Council of Trent.
Council of Carthage (419)
Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of OT and NT canon (same as later approved by the Council of Trent)
The Council of Nicea (787)
The Council of Nicea II in 787 ratified the same canon as authoritative for the Eastern Churches.
Council of Florence, an ecumenical council (1441)
Complete list of OT and NT canon was drawn up; this list later adopted by the Fathers of the Council of Trent

See text of Trent on Scriptures here.

Hi Marco, learned somthing new yesterday…catholicbridge.com/catholic/orthodox/why_orthodox_bible_is_different_from_catholic.php

o “start the ball rolling” on this, Pope Damasus promoted a Biblical canon which was a synthesis of the canon of the city-church of Rome and that of the city-church of Alexandria --the two leading city-churches of the universal Church. Damasus then turned this proposed canon over to the bishops of North Africa for analysis and debate. And he did this for four reasons:

North Africa was not part of the theology schools of either Alexandria or Antioch, which were the two intellectual factions that had caused the Arian controversy.
North Africa had the most bishops per capita of anywhere in the universal Church at the time, so they would reflect a good sample of universal opinion among the bishops.
The North African Church had a traditional custom of meeting in council (either at Carthage or at Hippo) every two years, which would give them the ability to hash things out effectively; and
Many of the North African bishops were renowned scholars, such as St. Augustine of Hippo, who participated in the debate and helped to formulate the canon.
So, at both the councils of Hippo (393) and at Carthage (397), the North African bishops worked out the final canon of the both the Old and New Testaments for the universal Church. This is the present canon of the Catholic Church, which the North Africans then submitted to Rome for final ratification.

Now, this was modified somewhat when, at both the Byzantine Council of Trullo (692) and the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea II (787), both the church of Constantinople and the church of Antioch (along with Rome and Alexandria) recognized the binding canons of the Council of Carthage (397)

Mark Bonocore has written some good stuff. Although in this article, I do wish there were links to source materials for what he is asserting about the Orthodox.

Hmm…Yes…maybe an idea for a new thread with the Orthodox?

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