CHR Comment: Sometime in the medieval era the Christian feast for St. Nicholas, a historical fourth century bishop, was mixed with pagan folklore about a humanlike beast that punished naughty children. This is the Austrian version of the “naughty or nice” element in modern Christmas celebrations. This a good example of syncretism in European Christianity.
New York Times reviews of three new books, two of which have
church history themes.
M. David Litwa’s book describes how early Christians adapted imagery from Jewish and pagan art in order to depict the deity of Jesus. You can read a summary and a review at the link below. Review of Biblical Literature.