So far I have discussed the earliest paradigms: The Jerusalem Paradigm where we find a possession christology and a behavioral soteriology; The Antiochean Paradigm where we have an embodiment christology and a sacrificial soteriology. The Jerusalem paradigm survived in the eastern formations of Christianity and is still prominent in the traditions of the Syrian and Assyrian orthodox churches. The Antiochean paradigm is most familiar to westerners because it survived most prominently in the Roman Catholic tradition which also means that it survives in the Protestant reform movements.
The third paradigm is most prominent in Alexandrian traditions and our earliest source for it is the Gospel of John. It is also known in some eastern Syrian literature because there was an ancient road that connected Alexandria with Edessa and news and ideas spread quickly across this route. I do not have an answer to the question of John's birthplace, but I have been leaning lately toward Alexandria for a host of reasons that are too involved to comment on here.
This paradigm knows the other two, and represents the height of retrospective teaching about Jesus. Jesus is not a great Angel or a spirit who descends and embodies a human being at baptism or in the womb. His pre-existence is moved a step back, to a time before creation. He is God's reason or logos. The Logos IS God, the text says. He is God's mind that becomes flesh.
Although scholars have opted in the past to explain this by noting parallels with sophia traditions - traditions about God's wisdom - these parallels have never been able to explain the identification of the Logos with God existing from the beginning. Sophia is never God from the beginning.
How is this to be explained? More on this in my next post.