The Christianity Stack Exchange has made it absolutely clear that this IS a worldbuilding question.

If modern theology were any consideration, the official stories in the Old and New testaments made up only the bare bones of the entire Bible. In recent decades, archaeologists have dug up many, many apocryphal, or hidden, stories that, if ever canonized, would completely change the cultural attitude and evolutionary history of Christianity.

These apocryphal texts include the following:

  • Life of Adam and Eve, a text describing the story of Adam and Eve in far greater detail, leading up to their expulsion from paradise right down to their deaths
  • The Book of Enoch, which described the Watchers, angels who fell to Earth to teach humanity hidden knowledge, even interbred with them, the resulting children being the Nephilim--giants
  • Joseph and Aseneth, a more detailed description of the relationship between the original owner of the Coat of Many Colors and the daughter of an Egyptian priest
  • Yahweh and Asherah, the idea that the Divine Male is accompanied by a Divine Female
  • The Gospel of Philip and The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, both of which picture Mary Magdalene not just as a reformed prostitute but as a major Disciple

In an alternate history, none of the listed texts are apocryphal and instead can be found in the official canon. What kinds of differences should I expect to see in the cultural attitudes and evolutionary history of Christianity?


marked as duplicate by James, Rob Watts, Frostfyre, Hohmannfan, AndyD273 Jul 20 '16 at 19:03

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there a way to read the texts so we can get a better idea of what would change and how? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 20 '16 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to say this is probably too broad. Christianity has been around for thousands of years, and many of these texts even predate that. Even choosing to focus on one of them is probably going to have effects larger than we can reliably estimate. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jul 20 '16 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ Christianity SE does not decide what is on topic for World Building. That said alternate history is on-topic in and of itself. This question though is very very very broad. $\endgroup$ – James Jul 20 '16 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ A good narrowed topic might be: What would the impacts of this be on the church's attitude toward women? As an example. $\endgroup$ – James Jul 20 '16 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ Is the question asking what if they were canonical (widely accepted by the church) or historical (events that happened)? Currently they are believed to be neither, at least by most historians and church leaders. $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Jul 20 '16 at 20:23

I don't know if I can give you a straight out answer, but I hope this will point you in the right direction.

I would start by considering why these works were cast out of the canon in the first place. Things to consider (though very point of view based)?

The effect this would have on the views of 'hot button topics', such as:

  • Slavery
  • Views on women (not just a woman, but an 'ex prostitute' as a disciple?)
  • Interaction with 'non believers'? Would this diverge from 'kill, convert, or subjugate'?

It could set forward women's rights a few hundred years (so women might be treated equally as of the 15 century, for example). It could also have a major impact on the world's view of sex workers?

It all depends on what the texts say, how the people of the time interpret it, and how those interpretations fair the test of time. After all, there was a time when it was argued that Jesus was never 'of the flesh', but that wasn't an ideal worth dying for, so that got tossed out.

  • $\begingroup$ why is this closed? $\endgroup$ – Joe Jul 20 '16 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ Fayth85 Could you site the old and new texts' statements on these topics? I am not sure you have read through the original texts or maybe you are mixing this up with a different religion. These seem like very broad generalizations that are different then what most people think the views on this religion are. The phrase 'kill, convert, or subjugate' seems a bit under researched. $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Jul 20 '16 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ That is very religion based, but not exactly open to debate. It's all spelled out in the old testament exactly how to wage war, treat slaves, take wives, and who to accept in the religion. I can point you to Deuteronomy chapter 20, which spells out quite a bit of it. But the entire bible is rife with such orders. $\endgroup$ – Fayth85 Jul 20 '16 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Fayth85 Originally, I did want to include the question as to why these texts were apocryphal, but I decided to get rid of that to narrow the scope. $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Jul 20 '16 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey If you were interested in why they were considered apocrypha, that would have made a good initial question before this one, and it still could make a good question, though that definitely would not be WorldBuilding. I have studied that a bit though, so I'll give you a teaser: sometimes a book cannot be authenticated (we are skeptical of who wrote it and when, despite the title/contents), sometimes the work looks like it got modified/tainted along the way (as appears to be the case with parts [not all] of book of Enoch), sometimes it is simple as because someone important said so. $\endgroup$ – Loduwijk Jun 13 '17 at 22:09

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