Icons and the Imagination
Orthodox theology by some accounts appears to be lacking in imagination. In the nineteenth-century spiritual classic, The Way of a Pilgrim, for example, the pious protagonist teaches a blind man how to pray with the warning to "guard himself against material imaginings and any sort of vision. Reject everything your imagination produces, for the holy Fathers strictly teach that interior prayer must be a visionless exercise, lest one fall into delusion." The Pilgrim was quite correct: such iconoclastic admonitions can be found in the writings of many early Christian writers including the fourth-century ascetic Evagrios of Pontus. In fact, the Pilgrim probably learned of such anti-imagistic practices from his Russian translation of the Greek Philokalia which preserves several works by Evagrios under the name of Neilos the Ascetic.
"Icons and the Imagination,"
LOGOS: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture: Vol. 1
, Article 8.
Available at: https://ir.stthomas.edu/logos/vol1/iss1/8