The generation of EEG theta rhythm in the mammalian limbic cortex is a prime example of rhythmic activity that involves central mechanisms of oscillations and synchrony. This EEG pattern has been extensively studied since 1938, when Jung and Kornmller (1938) demonstrated the first theta recordings in the hippocampal formation of rabbits. In 1986 in collaboration with Drs. B.H. Bland, S.H. Roth and B.M. MacIver we demonstrated for the first time that bath perfusion of hippocampal slices with the cholinergic agonist, carbachol, resulted in theta-like oscillations. Since this initial demonstration of in vitro theta-like activity, we have carried out a number of experiments in an attempt to answer the basic question: what are the similarities between cholinergic-induced in vitro theta-like activity and theta rhythm which naturally occurs in the in vivo preparation. Thus far, our studies have provided strong evidence that theta-like activity recorded in vitro shares many of the physiological and pharmacological properties of theta rhythm observed in vivo. The question whether in vitro theta-like oscillations reflect features of epileptiform activity is also adressed in this review.