In the opening chapter of the first volume of his posthumously published History of Byzantine Literature, Byzantine historian Alexander Kazhdan asks the following question: 'can we [as Byzantinists] imagine Byzantine literature without John Damaskenos?' 1 His answer to the question is a clear 'No, we can't', but his chosen example is an especially provocative one, since John of Damascus (c.675-c.753/4) spent his entire career within territory under Arab Muslim rule, yet seems to have written solely in Greek, Beyond translations of these Greek works, nothing from his own hand survives today in Syriac or Arabic, if he wrote in these languages at all. Further, John of Damascus' influence on Byzantine Orthodox theology was immense. There is, as Kazhdan intimates, no doubting his Byzantine or Orthodox renown, not least on the subject of icons, but on much else besides. 2 However, for Kazhdan, the most recent champion of the pursuit of longue-durée Byzantine literary history, the nagging question still remains: did any contemporaries in eighth-century Constantinople really know or care about John of Damascus' writings and, if not, is he truly a 'Byzantine' author?