Against the Sects, Refutation of (the) Sects, (A Treatise) On God—such are the titles that have been bestowed on this manuscript-—one of the key works from the Golden Age of Armenian literature-—by Eznik of Kołb.
Eznik was a fifth century theologian, philosopher, naturalist and translator, and one of the students of Mesrop Mashtots. His masterpiece, Against the Sects, was probably written before the Council of Chalcedon and Battle of Avarayr in 451, making it one of the first pieces of Armenian literature. It survived to the present day due in part to the good fortune of a single transcription, probably copied in the late 13th century at Gladzor. The manuscript (Matenadaran 1097) is currently at the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts in Armenia. The British Library has a copy from the first book printing in Izmir in 1762 (ORB.30/3841).
Against the Sects is largely a work of apophatic theology, in which Eznik approaches the concept of the Christian God by contradicting beliefs of the predominant non-Christian sects of his time, including heathens, Zoroastrians (particularly Zurvanites), schools of pre-Christian Greek philosophy (those of Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Epicurus, and the Stoics), and the Marcionite gnostics. Beyond this, the book is an essential source of information on Near East religion and mythology from pre-Christian times, and on early Christian beliefs and metaphysical notions of God.
For the first time, we have made the Classical Armenian edition of this essential work easy to get in paperback, and to read online at Sophene Armeniaca.
There is also a very good English translation by Monica Blanchard and Robin Darling Young (published by Peeters).