Juan de Torquemada (cardinal)

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This article is about the ecclesiastical writer and cardinal. For the New World missionary and historian, see Fray Juan de Torquemada. For other people named Torquemada, see Torquemada (disambiguation).
Juan de Torquemada.

Juan de Torquemada (1388 – 26 September 1468), or rather Johannes de Turrecremata, Spanish ecclesiastic, was born at Valladolid, and was educated in that city.


At an early age he joined the Dominican Order, and soon distinguished himself for learning and devotion. In 1415 he accompanied the general of his order to the Council of Constance, whence he proceeded to Paris for study, and took his doctor's degree in 1423. After teaching for some time in Paris he became prior of the Dominican house first in Valladolid and then in Toledo.

Torquemada attended the Council of Basel (1431–1449) as a representative of his order and of the King of Castile. At the Council of Basel he was one of the ablest supporters of the viewpoint of pope Eugene IV and the Roman curia. He was rewarded with the office of Master of the Sacred Palace and later with a cardinal's hat in 1439. Torquemada participated in the Council of Florence, speaking on theological issues involving the eastern churches and defending papal primacy in a debate with Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini. He also worked on behalf of Pope Eugene on missions to Germany and France before settling in the Roman Curia. Torquemada supported papal Crusade policy in opposition to the Ottoman Turks. Torquemada promoted reform of religious houses and wrote extensively on behalf of papal primacy. He participated in four papal elections, casting the deciding vote in the election of Pope Nicholas V (1447–1455). In 1456, the new Pope Callixtus III, aka Alfonso de Borja, gave him, in commendam, the position of Abbott of the monastery of Santa Scolastica in Subiaco.[1] He died at Rome and was buried at Santa Maria sopra Minerva. A painting by Antoniazzo Romano showing the Annunciation has in its background Torquemada presenting girls who received dowry funds from a guild he founded to the Virgin Mary. At an earlier age he was painted by Fra Angelico in a Crucifixion scene now at Harvard University's Fogg Museum.

His principal works are:

  • Meditationes, seu Contemplationes devotissimae (Rome, 1467)[2]
  • In Gratiani Decretum commentarii (4 vols., Venice, 1578)
  • Expositio brevis et utilis super toto psalterio (Mainz, 1474)
  • Quaestiones spirituales super evangelia totius anni (Brixen, 1498)
  • Summa ecclesiastica (Salamanca, 1550) [or Summa de ecclesiastica potestate] or "Summa de ecclesia (Summa de Ecclesia una cum eiusdem apparatu nunc primum in lucem edito, super decreto Papae Eugenii IIII in concilio Florentino de Unione Graecorum - Venetiis [Venice]: apud Michaelem Tramezinum, 1561).
  • Symbolum pro informatione Manichaeorum (El bogomilismo en Bosnia) (Publicaciones del Seminario Metropolitano de Burgos. Serie B)[3][4]

The last-named work has the following topics:

  1. De universa ecclesia
  2. De Ecclesia romana et pontificis primatu
  3. De universalibus conciliis
  4. De schismaticis et haereticis - divided into two parts, on schism & on heresy.

His De conceptione deiparae Mariae, libri viii. (Rome, 1547), was edited with preface and notes by EB Pusey (London, 1869 seq.) in opposition to Pope Pius IX's definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Other works include polemical tracts and sermons.

Juan de Torquemada was an uncle to the Inquisitor, Tomás de Torquemada.[2] The latter's fear of "crypto-Jews" might derive from his uncle's defense of the converso community of Toledo, which was attacked by the "Old Christian" majority in the period around 1450.

Torquemada's Meditationes was the first illustrated book published in Italy.[5] The first edition of the book was published in 1467 in Rome. It was published by Ulrich Han.[2]


  1. ^ J. Roll, “A Crayfish in Subiaco: A Hint of Nicholas of Cusa’s Involvement in Early Printing?, ,Oxford Journals, Humanities, Library Volumes6-16, Issue2Pp. 135-140
  2. ^ a b c "Meditations, or the Contemplations of the Most Devout". World Digital Library. 1479. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Symbolum pro informatione manichaeorum : (el bogomilismo en Bosnia) (Book, 1958)". [WorldCat.org]. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  4. ^ "Symbolum pro informatione Manichaeorum (El bogomilismo en Bosnia) (Publicaciones del Seminario Metropolitano de Burgos. Serie B): Juan de Torquemada: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 1958-01-01. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  5. ^ Meditationes [von] Johannes de Turrecremata, ed. Heinz Zirnbauer, Wiesbaden: O. Harassowitz, 1968.


  • Izbicki, Thomas M., Protector of the Faith: Cardinal Johannes de Turrecremata and the Defense of the Institutional Church, Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1981.
  • Juan de Torquemada, A Disputation on the Power of Pope and Council, Oxford: Blackfriars Publications, 1988.
  • Izbicki, Thomas M., "Juan de Torquemada's Defense of the Conversos," Catholic Historical Review, 1999 85(2): 195-207
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External Resources[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Pietro Barbo
Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
Succeeded by
Giorgio Fieschi