1.  How does Eusebius begin his work?  Is this introduction helpful to you in using Eusebius as a source?

2.  What sort of problems does Eusebius face in putting together his history?  How hard is his task?

3.  Suppose it was your job to write the first U.S. history.  (Note that in covering the history of the U.S., you would be dealing with just about the same time span Eusebius has to deal with in writing his church history.)  What would you do?  How would you organize your material?  What material would you use?  What would you concentrate on?  

4.  Note that, in the absence of earlier histories, one has to rely almost entirely on primary sources--and this is what Eusebius has done.  How has he used his primary sources?  Is this a good method?  
5.  What sources has Eusebius used so far?   How good are theses sources?  Is there any important source missing here?

6.  What does Eusebius seem to think of Philo?  Josephus?  Why does he place so much emphasis on these writers?  Does he use these sources fairly/accurately?

7.   What theme does Eusebius address first (right after the introduction)?  Why this theme?  Is this a good place to start?  Is it right for a historian to deal with such themes?

8.  Who do you think is Eusebius' intended audience?  Christians?  Jews?  Pagans?

9.  What is Eusebius own christology?  Is it any dif. from christology today?  Does it differ from NT christology?

10.  Do you find Eusebius' account of the history of the church interesting so far?  What do you find interesting?  What do you find not so interesting?  Why would a 4th century reader have particularly enjoyed this book?   


1.  How does Eusebius classify the various writings that might be included in the canon?  Why three divisions instead of two?  What criteria does he seem to use in classifying these books?

2.  Why do you think so many of the NT books were accepted without question almost from the first?

3.  Why would there have been any doubt about the authority of II Peter, Jude, II John, III John, Hebrews, James, and Revelation?

4.  Why were books like Hermas, I Clement, etc. not admitted to the canon?

5.  How do you explain the conduct of the Jews toward one another during the siege of Jerusalem?  What do you suppose would be the effect of such incidents on Jews elsewhere?  How do you suppose learning of such horrible events would have affected the Christian community?


1.  What effect do you suppose Bar Cochba's rebellion (the rebellion of the Jews during the time of Hadrian) would have had on the Christian community?  How would this have affected Roman treatment of the Christians?

2.  According to Eusebius, what was the general policy of the "good" Roman emperors in regard to the Christians?  Do you think his view accurate?

3.  Does Eusebius' account of the martyrdom of Polycarp seem probable?  What would motivate a man to act as Polycarp does?  How would Polycarp's firm stand for Christ have affected the Roman officials?  How would it have affected the general population watching the execution?

4.  What information can you gain from this chapter that might explain why the Romans persecuted Christians?  What evidence do you find that might explain why persecution failed to destroy the faith?

    BOOK V

1.  How do you explain the horrible treatment of the Christians in Lyon?  Why would a "good" emperor like Marcus Aurelius permit (and encourage) such treatment of Christians?

2.  How do you explain the perseverance of Christians in the face of extreme physical pain?  How are they able to avoid blasphemy? How did Christianity manage to survive in these circumstances?

3.  What would happen if Christians today were faced by similar attempts to get them to deny their faith?

4.  How would the fact that not all remained steadfast have affected the church?

5.  What does Eusebius seem to think about spiritual gifts, e.g. prophecy, healings, speaking in tongues, etc.?

6.  What would have been attractive about Montanism?  Why were some opposed to this movement?  Why couldn't Montanist and Catholic agree?

7.  Note the divisions about the proper date to celebrate easter and the divisions over Christology.  What caused these divisions?  How were they solved?


1.  What are Origen's strengths?  His weaknesses?  Why would men like Eusebius have been so attracted to his teachings?

2.  What motivates a man like Origen?  Why was he able to accomplish so much?  Why was he so zealous for Christianity, when he might so easily have had a successful career as a teacher of Platonist philosophy?

3.  What are Porphyry's criticisms of Origen?  Is he at all accurate?  

4.  How do you explain the courage and persistence of a woman like Potamiaena?


1.  Why would there be a dispute at all over the rebaptism of converted schismatics?  Wouldn't it have been easier to rebaptize people just in case the original baptism wasn't quite proper?  What harm would this course have done?

2.  What is the attitude of the 3rd century Christians toward death?  How did that affect their conduct.  Note their name for places of burial: cemeteries.  What significance does this have?

3.  According to Eusebius, what was the Christian response to the devastating plague that swept through Alexandria?

4.  Why were Christians so eager to win the "martyr's crown"?

5.  Why would there be a dispute between Christians who believed in a "literal" millennium and those who believed otherwise?  What difference does it make?  What position do you think is right?

6.  What do you make of Dionysius' criticisms of the book of Revelation?  Is he right?

7.  Why would the church have paid special attention to things like the statue of the woman with the issue of blood and the throne of James?

8.  What kind of a man was Paul of Samosata?  Do you think Eusebius' description of him accurate?  Was he rightly condemned by the church?  Was the appeal to secular authority to remove Paul justified?

9.  By the late third century, individual Christians were often held in high esteem by at least some Roman officials.  Why?  Note, for example, the conduct of Anatolius and Eusebius at Alexandria.