Thursday, 15 September 2005

A relatively closed canon

“An absolute guarantee that the history of the Canon is closed, and therefore that what we know as the Canon is also closed, cannot be given either by the Church or by individuals in the Church.... The insight that the concrete form of the Canon is not closed absolutely, but only very relatively, cannot be denied even with a view to the future.” (Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/2, p. 476.)

If we fail to acknowledge this, then we have failed to take seriously the authority of Scripture. Any criterion for declaring that the canon is absolutely closed would be a criterion external to the canon itself. Thus to assert that the canon is closed absolutely and de jure (not just relatively and de facto) would be to betray the canon itself.

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