Saturday, June 11, 2011

Omnibus: Week 1 of Eusebius and The Hobbit

Eusebius:  Book 1

First let me say, I love this book.  I have always accepted the premise that Jesus was with God in the beginning, but to watch Eusebius lay out scripture after scripture in the Old Testament linking them to Jesus and using scripture to trace Christianity back to the beginning was very eye-opening.  He works meticulously through historical evidence to create a timeline for Jesus life and explains the differences in the genealogies of Jesus between the gospels of Matthew and Luke.  (Obviously, I should pay more attention to genealogies since I hadn't even noticed the difference.)  My favorite portion of the chapter were his definition of a Christian and the story of King Abgar.  To Eusebius a Christian is someone who through the knowledge and teaching of Christ excels in self-control and righteousness, in discipline and virtue, and in confession of the one and only God.  That is a much higher bar than the one set by our current generation. 

Eusebius: Book 2

Book 2 traces the historical events from after the resurrection through the reign of Nero.  Portions of the material were already familiar to me from the Acts of the Apostles and our studies of ancient history.  For me the highlight of the chapter is the story of the martyrdom of James the Just, the brother of Jesus. 

Eusebius: Book 3

Book 3 details the events during the reign from Galba to Trajan.  The early portion of the book deals with the siege of Jerusalem by Titus and the conditions in the city at the time with extensive quoting from Josephus.  The conditions were atrocious and difficult to read through, but for the most part not so detailed as to be inappropriate for Jessie I though with one exception.  Near the end of 1.6 there is a story of a woman named Mary that I found to be over the top and completely disgusting so I have put a post it over and marked for Jessie to skip.  I think the conditions are covered sufficiently without this last portion.  Thankfully the second half of the chapter is much more uplifting with stories of the grandsons of Jude testifying before Domitian and being released as well as a story about the apostle John going to great lengths to bring a young man back to faith after he turns away.  This is the longest book so far with plenty of details of who became "bishop" of which church, a few more persecutions, and a discussion of the Biblical canon listing accepted, disputed, rejected ,and heretical  books.

Summary for the week:

I managed to complete 6 sessions of primary literature and 3 sessions of secondary literature for The Hobbit by Tolkein this week.  I've been taking notes and writing answers to the discussion sections and just answering the recitation questions mentally before comparing my answer with the teacher's CD.  I feel like I'm off to a good start, and I'm actually enjoying myself.

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