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Exegete, b. at Madrigal, Castile, about 1400; d. at Bonilla de la Sierra, near Avila, 3 Sept., 1455. 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 the wonder of the world. At twenty-two 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 Eugene IV as having publicly defended an heretical and some rash propositions, but in an explanatory letter he assured the pontiff of his orthodoxy. In his "Defensorium", written on this occasion against Torquemada and other critics, he gave utterance to views derogatory to the authority of the pope.
On his return to Spain he was appointed grand Chancellor of Castile, and in 1449 Bishop of Avila, whence his title Abulensis. 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 II Par., and on the gospel of St. Matthew. These are extremely diffuse, containing many digressions on dogmatic and other subjects, which, though often excellent in themselves, are out of place in a commentary. 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.
HURTER, Nomenclator, IV, 762; ANTONIO, Biblioth. Hisp. Vetus, II (Madrid, 1788), 255; Nouv. Biogr. Gen., XLV, 518; AMADOR DE LOS RIOS, Histor. Crit. de la Literat. Espan., VI, vii, and xi.