Alexandria was of central importance for the birth of Gnosticism.
The Christian ecclesia was of Jewish–Christian origin, but also attracted Greek members, and various strand of thought were available, such as "Judaic apocalypticism, speculation on divine wisdom, Greek philosophy, and Hellenistic mystery religions." [Some] early Christians understood the pre-incarnate Christ, ontologically, as an angel.
This theses is most notably put forward by Gershom Scholem (1897–1982) and Gilles Quispel (1916–2006).
Early research into the origins of Gnosticism proposed Persian origins or influences, spreading to Europe and incorporating Jewish elements.
The Syrian–Egyptian traditions postulate a remote, supreme Godhead, the Monad.
This Divine spark could be liberated by gnosis of this Divine spark.
The Gnostic ideas and systems flourished in the Mediterranean world in the second century AD, in conjunction with and influenced by the early Christian movements and Middle Platonism.
This "true" angel Christology took many forms and may have appeared as early as the late First Century, if indeed this is the view opposed in the early chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
The Elchasaites, or at least Christians influenced by them, paired the male Christ with the female Holy Spirit, envisioning both as two gigantic angels.
The author of De Centesima and Epiphanius’ "Ebionites" held Christ to have been the highest and most important of the first created archangels, a view similar in many respects to Hermas’ equation of Christ with Michael.
Finally, a possible exegetical tradition behind the Ascension of Isaiah and attested by Origen's Hebrew master, may witness to yet another angel Christology, as well as an angel Pneumatology.
Gnosticism united material from the "outer fringes of Judaism" such as the Essenes and the Diaspora Judaism of the Aramaic Syro-Mesopotamian world.