They said the present period is poor in Spirit, and therefore we must always return to the classical period. The Apostolic period is the classical period of Christianity, and what has been written at that time is valid for all times. – We shall see later that this statement was not always acknowledged by Christian theology, but here it was for the first time really fixed. Therefore something really new cannot be canonic.
This was one of the reasons why we have in the Biblical literature so many books which go under Apostolic names, although they were written in the post-Apostolic period. But that which is canonic, is canonic in an absolute sense, even in the letters of the text. Here Christianity simply followed the legalistic interpretation of the Law in Judaism where every Hebrew letter of the Old Testament text has an open and a hidden meaning, and is absolutely inspired. But this was not enough – as it never was, either in Protestantism or in any other people in which the Bible was made the ultimate norm..–..because the Bible must be interpreted. And the GnostIcs interpreted the Scriptures differently from the official Church. Another principle therefore must enter: TRADITION. The tradition was identified with the regula, the rule of faith. When this happens, not the Bible but the rule of faith becomes decisive, exactly as the creeds of the Reformation 50 years and later ,after the Reformation, are the decisive canon for theological teaching, and not the Bible.