Spanish Franciscan, date of birth unknown; died about 1491. A convert from Judaism, he was for many years superior of the house of studies of the Friars Minor at Salamanca, and in 1491 was created Bishop of Thermopylæ in Greece. He was a man of great learning and attained considerable renown as a preacher, but his chief title to fame is the work entitled "Fortalitium Fidei" which Mariana (lib. XXII "De rebus Hispan.", c. xlvi) describes as "opus eruditum, splendido titulo, voce barbara, et divinarum rerum cognitione præstanti". As appears from the text, this work was written in 1458, but it was added to by the author at different times up to the year 1485. The first edition was issued about 1464-76; the edition published at Nuremberg in 1485 begins thus: "Incipit prohemium Fortalitii Fidei conscriptum per quendam Doctorem eximium ordinis minorum anno MCCCCLIX in partibus occidentis." The fact that the "Fortalitium Fidei" appeared anonymously gave rise to some difference of opinion as to its authorship. The reason why the work is included in the "Scriptores O. P." is that one edition of it appeared under the auspices of Gulielmus Totani, O. P., for its author was undoubtedly a Franciscan, as Echard himself notes (Script. Ord. Præd., ed. 1721, II, 61), and modern scholars are practically unanimous in attributing it to Alfonso de Spina. The "Fortalitium Fidei" deals with the different kinds of armour to be used by preachers and others in their warfare against the enemies of the Christian religion. It is divided into five books, the first directed against those who deny the Divinity of Christ, the second against heretics, the third against the Jews, and the fourth against the Mohammedans, while the fifth book treats of the battle to be waged against the Gates of Hell. In this last book the author dwells at length upon the demons and their hatred of men; the powers they have over men and the diminution of these powers, owing to the victory of Christ on the Cross, the final condition of the demons, etc.
Besides the "Fortalitium", Alfonso de Spina published at least three other works:
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online