Read an extended work, voluminous even, in fifteen books and five volumes. In this work, testimonies and quotations of entire books not only by Greek authors but also by Persian, Thracian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Chaldaean and Roman authors considered notable in each one of these countries are thrown pell-mell together. The author tries to show that there is in them a supplement in favour of pure, supernatural and divine Christian religion, that these texts proclaim and announce the supernatural Trinity, one in its substance, the arrival of the Word in a body of flesh, the signs of his divinity, the Cross, the Passion, the placing in the tomb, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the grace of the Holy Spirit manifested miraculously on the Apostles by tongues of fire, the terrifying second coming of Christ our God, the resurrection of the dead, the judgement, the reward for what everyone did in life. Moreover, the creation of the universe, Providence, Paradise and other subjects of the same order, the virtue which is practised among Christians and all that touches on this subject. He tries to show that, on all these ideas, the Greeks, the Egyptians, Chaldaeans and those enumerated above reflected and proclaimed them strongly in their own writings.
And it is not only from those listed that he gathers and groups testimonies, but he has not failed in taking even some from the alchemical writings of Zosimus (the latter was a Theban from Panopolis) to demonstrate the same propositions; to this end, he explains the meaning of Hebrew words and the places where each Apostle preached the doctrine of salvation and ended his human labours. At the end of his book, he develops his own exhortation in which he mixes, to reinforce it, pagan sentences and sentences borrowed from Scripture; it is there especially that one can recognize the love of this man for virtue and his irreproachable piety. As for the form of his writings, little need be said; because, in many passages, his construction and vocabulary are so neglected that sometimes he does not even escape clichés. And often the sense of his writings is no better.
As for the method which the author used to reach his goal, no man of goodwill could blame him, but the same does not go for his work. Because there are not only many words which are often inappropriate to our divine dogmas which he forces into agreement with them, but there are also fables and dreams whose inventors must have laughed if they had any sense and which our author does not hesitate to say are in harmony with our divine wisdom; he goes as far as trying to put the completely foreign significance of the fables and the dreams in agreement with the true, divine, unquestionable and pure ideas of the divine dogma. No advantage for religion results from this; but the author could without unreason avoid procuring materials for amateurs to launch quarrels on critical matters if they can show that some relate to ours, just to confirm our religion. Our religion does not need it and is the only one which is pure and true; this is an attempt to twist into agreement the interpretation of texts which have nothing to do with it, are for the most part strangers to it, and the ideas which come from them differ more from ours than night from day.
And the author has taken upon himself this very arduous task, as he frequently says himself, in order to show that the Christian dogma was announced and proclaimed in advance among all peoples by the remarkable men in each and to thus remove any excuse for those of the gentiles who did not come to the divine message. The goal is creditable, but it is not right to try to carry it out by difficult and not very convincing means, but by those which are easy to reach and that the faith suggests. As for the name of the author, I have at present been unable to obtain knowledge, because the volumes which we saw did not carry it. It is known only that he lived in Constantinople, was married with a wife and children and that he lived after the time of [Emperor] Heraclius (d. 641).
-- St. Photius the Great (d. c. 893), Bibliotheca, 170