Feast of the Holy Prophet Zacharias, Father of the Venerable Forerunner
I SHALL SET forth the best contributions of the philosophers of the Greeks, because whatever there is of good has been given to men from above by God, since “every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (Js. 1.17). If, however, there is anything that is contrary to the truth, then it is a dark invention of the deceit of Satan and a fiction of the mind of an evil spirit, as that eminent theologian Gregory once said (Homily 39.3). In imitation of the method of the bee, I shall make my composition from those things which are conformable with the truth and from our enemies themselves gather the fruit of salvation. But all that is worthless and falsely labeled as knowledge I shall reject. Then, next, after this, I shall set forth in order the absurdities of the heresies hated of God, so that by recognizing the lie we may more closely follow the truth. Then, with God’s help and by His grace I shall expose the truth—that truth which destroys deceit and puts falsehood to flight and which, as with golden fringes, has been embellished and adorned by the sayings of the divinely inspired prophets, the divinely taught fishermen, and the God-bearing shepherds and teachers—that truth, the glory of which flashes out from within to brighten with its radiance, when they encounter it, them that are duly purified and rid of troublesome speculations. However, as I have said, I shall add nothing of my own, but shall gather together into one those things which have been worked out by the most eminent of teachers and make a compendium of them, being in all things obedient to your command.
—St John of Damascus, The Fount of Knowledge