Alonso Tostado

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Alonso Tostado known in Latin as Tostatus Abulensis ("Tostado from Ávila"), Dominus Abulensis ("the Master from Avila"), or simply Abulensis[1] (ca. 1400 – 3 September 1455) was a Spanish exegete and bishop of Ávila, whose real name was Alonso Fernández de Madrigal.


After a course of grammar under the Franciscans he entered the University of Salamanca, where, besides philosophy and theology, he studied civil and canon law, Greek, Hebrew, and the other branches then comprised in the curriculum of a university. By great application joined to an unusually brilliant mind and an extraordinarily retentive memory, he accumulated such a vast store of knowledge that his contemporaries styled him a wonder of the world. At 22 he began to lecture on a wide variety of subjects to large audiences attracted by his learning. Later he assisted with distinction at the Council of Basle.

During a visit to the papal court at Siena in 1443, he was denounced to Pope Eugene IV as having publicly defended a heretic and some rash propositions, but in an explanatory letter he assured the pontiff of his orthodoxy.

On his return to Spain he was appointed Grand Chancellor of Castile, and in 1449, Bishop of Ávila, whence his title Abulensis.

In Spanish, saber más que el Tostado ("to know more than Tostado") is still a proverbial phrase pondering somebody's deep knowledge.


In his Defensorium, written against Juan de Torquemada and other critics, he gave utterance to views derogatory to the authority of the pope. Besides a Spanish commentary on the chronicles of Eusebius and other minor works, he wrote commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament as far as Second Chronicles, and on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. These are diffuse, containing many digressions on dogmatic and other subjects.

An edition of his works in 13 folio volumes was published at Venice in 1507 and 1547; a more complete edition in 24 folio volumes appeared at the same place in 1615, and another in 27 folio volumes in 1728.


  1. ^ Hansen, Joseph (1901). Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung in Mittelalter. Bonn: Carl Georgi. p. 357. 
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 
  • Hansen, Joseph, Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung in Mittelalter, Bonn: Carl Georgi, 1901.