Here is a nice reminder from my friend Larry Hurtado that early Christian symbols and talismans are not ink blots into which we can read just anything. — BW3
Earliest Christian Symbols: Corrections
I’ve mentioned before that the Internet is great for some things, but that also there are sites (often set up by well-meaning people) that publish out of date and inaccurate information. Many are the posts that could be written giving examples, but one will serve.
If you go to this site, for example, you will find information given on “monograms”, including particularly a (very dated) discussion of the “chi-rho”: http://www.christiansymbols.net/monograms_2.php. A few corrections based on my own research published in several books over the last decade or so:
The chi-rho is not the earliest “monogram” type device to refer to Jesus. Instead, the earliest attested such device is the tau-rho. (For further discussion, see, e.g., my essay “the Staurogram” on the “Essays, etc.” page of this site.)
I don’t mean to pick on this one site or its (obviously sincere and dedicated creator), only to illustrate the need to judge and compare carefully the opinions and information proffered on web sites.