The All-Time First Known Modern Preterist. “It has been usual to say that the Spanish Jesuit Alcasar was the founder of the Præterist School..”
Rev. Father Ludovici of the Seville Jesuit Society
Popularly Known As:
“Le savant jésuite” – Bossuet
Jesuit Father Serving the Palace (Alcázar) Theological Society in Seville, Spain | Earliest Known Modern Preterist | Perhaps His Preterism Suggested by Hentenius or Salmeron | Belluga interacts with him in Commentary on Apocalypse, Zechariah and Daniel | David Pareus criticizes him as an “upstart” in his famous Commentary
- 1614: Luis Alcásar, An Investigation into the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse
- 1618: David Pareus, A commentary upon the divine Revelation of the Apostle and Evangelist John
- 1631: Luis Alcásar, Veteris Testamenti partes quas respicit Apocalypsis – It is said that Grotius was considerably indebted to it; but neither Grotius, nor any other writer has followed him in supposing that the prophecies of the Apocalypse have been accomplished to the twentieth chapter.
- 1882: F.W. Farrar, The Preterist Interpretation
- 1883: Thomas Haydock, The Illustrated Douay-Rheims Bible: The Apocalypse (pdf) – Interacts with Alcásar, Grotius, Hammond, Bossuet
- 1998: Timothy James, Preterist Eschatology in the Sixteenth Through Eighteenth Centuries
- 2006: Kurt Simmons, The Road Back to Preterism – A Brief History of Eschatology and the Church
- 2013: Gary DeMar, Was the Preterist Interpretation of Revelation Invented by the Jesuits?
- 2014: Counter-Reformation Deceit: Futurism & Preterism Infiltrate Protestantism – Protestant statesman and theologian, Hugo Grotius, had a Jesuit friend, named Petavius. Grotius said he wanted peace between Catholics and Protestants and he used his diplomacy to achieve this end. To do this he studied Jesuit Alcázar’s Preterist interpretation, and wrote his own anti-Protestant commentary on the Antichrist (1620) He bought into the Jesuit counter interpretation so strongly that he believed the pope was not mentioned in any of the prophecies. Other Protestants were shocked at his writings and wrote to refute him, yet his works marked the beginning of others following his lead.
“Combining great learning with an amiable character and uncommon generosity and charity, he was universally beloved in his native town, Seville, where he lived the greater part of his life.”
Launched Preterist Movement in Literature
“The ‘more legitimate and true precursor’ of Grotius”
R.H. Charles “Salmeron (1614) took the same view, and agreed with Hentenius that the Apocalypse was written before the fall of Jerusalem. He refused, however, to write a Commentary” (Studies in the Apocalypse: being lectures delivered before the University of London, 1913, p. 34)
THE DOCTRINE OF ALCAZAR:
Made the seals the early expansion of apostolic Christianity
God’s longsuffering, warnings, and punishments were allotted to the Jews
The trumpets were judgments on fallen Judaism
The two witnesses – the doctrine and holy lives of the Christians
After the persecutions Christianity would arise with new glory and convert many Jews
Revelation was the apostolic church, bringing forth the Roman church
The first beast of Revelation 13 declared to be the persecuting arrogance of pagan Rome – the second beast, its carnal wisdom
Revelation 17, the mystical meaning of idolatrous ancient Rome
Revelation 18, its conversion to the Catholic faith
(LeRoy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic faith of Our Fathers, The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation, volume 2, excerpts from pages 464-532)
Note 7, Chapter 1, Verse 7 (pp. 199-202) :
“This signification of clouds has in it such force, that even if Christ should not come to Judgment in a material cloud, it might nevertheless be truly and beautifully said that He would come in clouds, according to the language of Sacred Scripture. Not that I would deny that there would be true material clouds at the Day of Judgment ; for I have no mind to innovation in what pertains to teaching : I only mean to assert, that so beautiful and apt is the symbolical signification of clouds, that although there should be no clouds properly so called (viz. no material clouds), Christ might nevertheless most truly and significantly be then said to come in the clouds of heaven. And this I wish to say rather, in order that it might be noted, that in the symbol of the clouds there is latent a much greater and more excellent mystery than any one might think, who considered only the grammatical sense of the Word — a sense to which I see that some persons are too much addicted.”
“Behold, the Apocalypse sets before us the Advent of Christ in the clouds of the preaching of the Gospel, by means of which God pours down His heavenly shower, that is, the spirit of peace and of prayer.” (Clissold’s Translation)
15th (Decimaquinta) Preliminary Note (pp. 56-57) :
“I say a profound philosophy teaches, that in the Creation of things it was the intention of the Artificer and Builder, that in those objects of Creation which come within the reach of our vision, men might also be in possession of wonderful symbols and hieroglyphics, serving to point out to them mystically such lessons as would most highly concern them, viz., true instruction in faith and morals.
Origen, after pursuing the subject in a beautiful train of reasoning, concludes at last with the following words, ‘Therefore may all things be referred upward from the visible to the invisible, from the corporeal to the incorporeal, from the manifest to the hidden ; so that the objects of the world may be understood to be created by divine Wisdom according to such a divine dispensation, as from visible things, by means of the things and exemplars themselves, teaches us the invisible, and transfers us from earthly things to those which are of heaven.’ Thus far Origen ; who doubts not that, in the creation of things corporeal, it was the principal design of the divine Artificer that they should be symbols and traces, as it were, of the mysteries of our faith. Therefore the merely natural office proper to every particular thing, in virtue of which it ministers to other bodies, and in which the philosophy of Aristotle rests, by no means satisfies the infinite Wisdom of God, and His especial providence in the salvation of souls ; nor indeed His own wonderful counsel whereby He hath determined to raise us from the corporeal to the incorporeal. It is probable, therefore, that the omnipotence of God, when He had the power of making infinite species of souls, plants, and stones, selected and created out of the infinite things which he had in his power, such as were the more apt to signify the mysteries of our salvation, and a conformably moral instruction. And this was accomplished in such a manner, that the universal mechanism of things created should maintain a most beautiful harmony with the wonderful counsel of God in the salvation of men ; and that things corporeal should subserve to the representation of those which are spiritual.” (Clissold’s Translation)
LATIN EXCERPTS FROM VESTIGATIO IN APOCALYPSI
No li putare, optime Lector, existimasse Luisium nostrum, licere sibi ad Apocalyptici vestibulionamentum per accomodationem huc trensferre, quod non erat eo respectu isaiae reuelatum. Sed potius sic habeto, propterea hic appositam fuisse eius visionis imaginem, quia persuasum habet luisius, spiritus sancti mentem in reuelatione illa Isaiae facta non fuisse aliam, quam ut extaret in veteri Scriptura insigne vaticinium de caelesti apocalypsi, quae aioanne erat spectanda, ac de ipsius apocalypseos argumento praecipuo. Res sane magna, si certa : ac de certitudine a te ipso ferendum est iudicium, perlecto capitis decimi septimi commentario, ubi res in disputationem veniet. Tunc vero, si tibi fueritsatisfactum ; fortasse fateberid, nihil grandius optari potuisse ad Apocalypseos propylaeum exornandum ; nihil aptius cogitari, quam tanti suisse apud Deum reuelationem hanc ionnai faciendam, ut augustissimo prognostico, & antiquissima praerogatiua eam singulariter honorare, & praenunciare decreuerit in ipso Isaiae libro, designatis speculatore & argumento : idque in literali nobilissimi vaticinii sunsu : qua ratione de ullo alio noui testimenti libro negat Luisim se peculiarem reperisse prophetiam.” (p. 14)
“Arias vero in sua illa spirituali accommodatione, dum Apocalypseos bella vult intra unius hominis pectus includere; non video, qua ratione possit in bello illo spiritali, quod itra unius hominis pectus geritur, distinguere duo veluti bella, quorum primum respondeat bello Ierosolymae corruere; alterius vero, universam Babylonem conflagrare: atque his succedre mille annorum pacem ; ac demum Antichristi bellum. Etenim, licet mysticum duarum urbium praelium in hominis pectore pie meditari, subtile sit inventum, nec improbandum ; ceterum ille trium bellorum ordo ad mysticum hoc bellum transferri non potest. Nec contendit Arias omnia per ordinem ad subtilissimam illam normam redigere. Posse vero multa non ordinatim, sed promiscue, at absque filo accommodari, non inficior. Quin imo existimo, si Arias suam illam applicatione in litterali sensu stabiliret, multa praeterea illum ingeniose pro votis aptare potuisse. Nam in perfidae Ierosolymae bello adversus Dei Ecclesiam poterat contemplari, quam acriter Deo conentur obsistere ii, qui semel fuerant illuminati et gustaverant donum caeleste, et verbum Dei, et prolapsi sunt, ad Hebraecos 6.4. Quorum ex numero vix decima tandem pars, id est, perpauci sese illi submittent. In bello etiam Romae ethnicae adversus Ecclesiam gesto, idoneus sese dabat sermo de eorum de corum repugnantia” (Vestigatio, Lyons, 1618, p. 19)
“Mathematicae autem artis peritis evidens est, si sol & luna coniuncti uterque sint, & luna ab inferiori loco et uno latere respiciatur; utramque lunae cuspidem, sive acumen deorsum conversa videri” (“Painters usually show the [crescent] moon upside down at the feet of this woman. But it is obvious to learned mathematicians, if the moon and the sun face each other, both points of the moon have to point downward. Thus the woman will stand on a convex instead of a concave surface.” (Vestigatio, Antwerp, 1614, 453: I cite the translation in Reeves, chap. 4.)
“Romano enim Pontifici data est a Christo VIRGA FERREA, qua regat omnes gentes Christianismo subditas.’”
Biographical Dictionary of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
A comprehensive commentary on the Book of Revelation by the Jesuit theologian Ludovicus ab Alcasar (1554-1613) who dedicated the work to Pope Pius V. In a curious introductory letter to the reader however, (by a censor?) Father Antonius Padilla is described as having greatly stimulated and furthered the edition of this commentary, and thus being de facto the dedicatee. After a series of introductory essays and a detailed synopsis follows the commentary, book by book, verse by verse. A concluding chapter on biblical weights and measures closes the work. A Lyon edition followed in 1618. A supplementary volume discussing in more detail those passages from Hiob, the Psalter, Canticles and Prophets quoted or alluded to in Revelation was published only in 1631. See De Backer-Sommervogel I 145-146 who incorrectly mention only 20 engravings.
Together with Ribeira, Alcasar is said to have introduced into the study of Revelation the scientific historical method, approaching the work from the viewpoint of the author and seeking the clue to his writings in the events of his time. In so many words Alcasar states in his dedication to Pope Pius V that Revelation was not only about the destruction of Jerusalem, but also about heathenish Rome; and what became increasingly clear to subsequent commentators like Grotius, Clericus, and others, that Rome and not Jerusalem was the object of attack in Revelation, is already foreshadowed in the very fine engravings after Don Juan de Jauregui: they show angels and monsters, but two of them have a bird’s-eye view of a town not dissimilar to Rome. See R. H. Charles in Enc. Brit. 23:213.
“The exegete who set much of the agenda for the Catholic interpretation of the Apocalypse in the seventeenth century was the Jesuit, Luis Alcasar (1554-1612), whose Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi first appeared posthumously in Antwerp in 1614 and was immediately recognized as one of the most ‘modern’ interpretations of John’s mysterious revelation. Alcasar broke with earlier Jesuits in stressing a preterite and historical reading that held that everything in the Apocalypse, with the exception of the last three chapters, had been fulfilled in the early centuries of the Church. Although he noted that a number of early commentators had taught that Apocalypse 20 referred to the refrigerium sanctorum after Antichrist, Alcasar had no sympathy for this view. He also launched an attack on Joachim of Fiore, saying ‘He who will may hold the Abbot Joachim to be a prophet of God, but not I.” (Imagining the End: visions of apocalypse from the ancient Middle East to modern America, p. 165)
“He finds in the book no prediction of world history beyond the time of Constantine, when the Millennium began.” (The Apocalypse of John, p. 332)
“Le savant jésuite Louis d’Alcasar, qui a fait un grand commentaire sur l’Apocalypse, où Grotius a pris beaucoup de ses idées, la fait voir parfaitement accomplie jusqu’au xxe chapitre, et y trouve les deux témoins sans parler d’Elie ni d’Enoch.
“XV. Qu’il peut y avoir plusieurs sens dans l’Ecriture, et en particulier dans l’Apocalypse.
A cela il faut ajouter ce que dit le même Alcasar avec tous les théologiens, qu’une interprétation même littérale de Y Apocalypse ou des autres prophéties, peut très-bien compatir avec les autres. ” (Oeuvres complètes, 378)
Thomas Kelly Cheyne
“Conspicuous above all is the Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi of Ludovicus ab Alcazar. That writer was the first to carry out consistently the idea that the Apocalypse in its earlier part is directed against Judaism, and in its second against Paganism, so that in chaps. 12 f. we read of the first persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire, and in ch. 19 of the final conversion of that Empire. He thus presents us with the first serious attempt to arrive at a historical and psychological understanding of the book. The idea worked out by Alcazar had already been expressed by Hentenius in the preface to his edition of Arethas (OEcumenii Commentar, ed. Morelius et Hentenius 2), and by Salmeron (Opera, 12, Cologne, 1614. ‘In sacram Jo. Apoc. praeludia’). ” (Encyclopedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary of the Literary Political and Religious History, p. 200)
“It has been usual to say that the Spanish Jesuit Alcasar.. was the founder of the Præterist School.. But to me it seems that the founder of the Præterist School is none other than St. John himself.” (The Early Days of Christianity)
James E. Force
“Ludovicus ab Alcazar was even more disturbing. For his Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi (1614) he used methods normally associated with the “Higher Criticism” of the nineteenth century. He applied the first half of the Apocalypse to the Jewish Revolt and the second half to early Roman persecution of Christians. While he owed his chronological order to Lyra, he dropped ecclesiastical history and eschatology. The whole book concerned events long ago and no longer served a prophetic function. He supported his argument with the first complete survey of Apocalypse criticism, from antiquity to the present, and Bousset still used Alcazar to date many medieval works. In the North his followers were Grotius, Hammond and Bousset. Newton cites approvingly his reading of the wilderness where the woman hides, but attacks Alcazar’s approach, saying that those who apply Apocalypse to the Apostolic Age must explain why their interpretations were not expressed then. (Because Alcazar, like Ribera, does use patristic sources, Newton’s criticism loses much of its force).” (Newton and Religion, p. 208)
“A Spanish Jesuit of Seville named, Luis De Alcazar (1554-1613) invested forty years of his life to this study which culminated in his 900 page commentary, “Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi (Investigation of the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse). In this work which was published posthumously in 1614, Alcazar made a new attempt irrespective of both Catholic and Protestant views to interpret the Apocalypse through the use of critical-historical methods. He concluded that the Apocalypse describes the two-fold war of the Church in the first century; one with the Jewish synagogue, and the other with paganism, which resulted in victory over both adversaries. Frrom makes an interesting note regarding Alcazar:
Alcazar was fully aware that he contradicted certain of the fathers, differed from the Futurists Ribera and Viegas, and was in conflict with Malvenda. While approving of the concept of spiritual resurrection held by Augustine, he contended against his view of the binding of Satan, as well as that of Ribera and Viegas. (Froom, LeRoy Edwin. The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, 3 vols. (Wash. D.C.: Review and Herald, 1948), vol 2, p.509) (Preterist Eschatology in the Sixteenth Through Eighteenth Centuries)
Cornelius A. Lapide
“But,” continues Cornelius a Lapide, “Alcazar (a very celebrated interpreter) in his method refers this passage to the Primitive Church : hence by the man-child he understands the Roman Church. ‘
“From what has been said, it would seem that Alcazar (in Apoc. vi. 1 2), from the expression “thus” in this verse of S. Matthew, gathers incorrectly that all the things which are here spoken of refer literally, not to the end of the world, but to the destruction of Jerusalem. By the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars, this writer understands literally the blindness of the Jews, their calamities, and the slaughter which was made of them by Titus. By the shaking of the powers of the heavens, he understands the flight of the Christians from the city, by whose holiness it was sustained. But every one can see that these meanings are mystical and symbolical. ” (Great Commentary of Lapide, Vol. 3, p. 87)
Robert H. Mounce
“Alcasar was a thoroughgoing “preterist.” (The Book of Revelation, p. 26)
David Pareus (1618)
“Now that, besides these scopes that upstart Inquirer labours to wrest the Revelation to this purpose, as if it should teach, that R O M E, of old the head of Pagan Idolatry, by an admirable vicissitude was to bee changed into the Metropolis of the Catholicke Church, that the Romane Church wot gloriously to triumph both in respectt of the Romane Citie, and the whole Empire, and that the soveraigne authority of the Romish Pope should alwayes remaine in the height of honour’, is such a filthy and impudent depravation of this most Sacred Prophesie: that even the Divell himselfe ought to blush thereat: and I should wonder if these goodly trifles do not cause laughter, or shame even to the Romish Court it selvse. But these things a little after are to be more neerly examined, when we come to the Argument. Enough touching the Order.” (p 16)
“The upstart Interpreter of the Revelation (before mentioned) having thought upon a new Stratagem, I know not whether to curry favour with the Pope, or the more to harden him to his destruction, doth hence forge to himself new Oracles touching the Church , and the Monarchicall Empire of the Pope of Rome, and with his Hypotheses doth wholly stray from the Scope of this Prophesie, and to speake the truth, doth foully deprave the Argument thereof.
His Hypotheses or Positions are principally four: 0ne general; Three Special.
The generall is of the Argument of the whole Revelation: that it describes a two-fold warre of the Church: one with the Synagogue, the other with Paganisme, and a two-fold viclory and triumph over both adversaries.
But the former warre with the Synagogue was already fought before the Prophesie was revealed: and the Synagogue with the Temple lay in ashes. To what purpose then should this warre have been shewed unto John as being to come afterward? Like as, faith he, things done are represented in a Comoedie. As if forsooth, Christ would represent unto John things done, and not rather, which were to come to passe afterward. As for the latter warre with Paganisme, although it was then on foot very hot already, and was further to lie more heavy upon the Christians: notwithstanding a more fierce conflict by farre with Antichrist was to befall them (not to speake ofthe Gogish Warre) by whom the Church (as is prefigured in the Apocalyps) should grievously be oppressed unto the very last times, and against whom victory and triumph is promised unto the Saints, the which all Interpreters, the Papists not excepted, do confesse.
Of his Speciall hypotheses the first is, that in the first eleven Chapters is represented the rejection of the Jewish Nation, and the desolation of the City Jerusalem by the Romanes.
The Second: That in the nine following chapters is portended the Empire of the Romane Church over Rome and the whole world, and the overthrow of Paganisme: the which forsooth should bee that horrible judgement of the Great Whore and destruction of Babylon, effected by Constantine the Great and his Successours.
The Third: That in the two last Chapters under the Type of the Lambes Bride and the New Jerusalem, is set forth the glorious and triumphant state of the Romane Church in Heaven.
But these most idle vanities will soon vanish away, if thou doest but even put them to the Touch-stone, that is, the very Text of the Prophesie; for Christ did reveale those things to John which should shortly bee done, Chap. 1. 1. and afterward Chap. 4.1. whereas therefore the destruction of Jerusalem, and rejection of the Jewes, by Alcasars owne confession was fulfilled XXV yeeres before the Revelation was given.
Who then should believe that Christ would have revealed unto John for a great mysterie, a History so generally known, under such obscure Types: Johns Revelation prophesieth of things present and to come, faith Andreas out of a Treatise of Methodius, intitled Symposium or “Banket”. Therefore the first Hypothesis is undoubtedly false.
Neither is the second more true. For the judgement of the Great Whore, and the ruine of Babylon is represented not as a grace of conversion, but as a punishment of whoredom to be inflicted on the kingdom & seat of Antichrist in the last times. Therefore to interpret this of the conversion of Rome and Paganisme unto the Faith of Christ, which came to passe three hundred yeers after Christ under Constantine and his Successours, is to make a mocke of reason.
The third is no better then the rest. The Spouse of the Lambe, and the New Jerusalem, is the whole Church of Christ, gloriously triumphing in Heaven, from whom God hath wiped away all teares: in which shall bee nothing that is defiled and abominable, as shall be afterward shewed in its place: but that the now Romane Apostaticall Church, worshipper of Idols, mother of fornications, and driver, not of Christs, but of the Beast of Antichrist (while she remains such on earth) should also belong unto the Spouse of Christ in Heaven shall then be true, when that of the Apostle is false: “Be not deceived, neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankinde, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor blasphemers, nor extortioners shall enherit the Kingdom of God. Shall I take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot: which shall be ad Calendas Graecai, that is, never.
But what need I trouble my self: This new fiction of the Inquirer is abundantly refuted by the judgement of Ribera, Bellarmine, and other most acute Doctors of his owne order: although scarcely there be any one of them, whom be doth not most freely censure.
But of late a certaine learned and judicious Divine scemeth to have set forth in lively colours the argument of that painfull and most polished Inquiry, in an Epistle, which I shall here annexe.” (A commentary upon the divine Revelation of the apostle and evangelist John pp. 17,18)
“Near the commencement of the seventeenth century (1614), the Spanish Jesuit Ludovicus ab Alcasar published his Vestigatio arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi, a performance distinguished by one remarkable feature, which was then new. He declared the Apocalypse to be a continuous and connected work, making regular advancement from beginning to end, as parts of one general plan in the mind of the writer. In conformity with this he brought out a result which has been of great importance to succeeding commentators. Rev. v-vi, he thinks, applies to the Jewish enemies of the Christian Church; xi-xix to heathen Rome and carnal and worldly powers, xx-xxii to the final conquests to be made by the church, and also to its rest, and its ultimate glorification. This view of the contents of the book had been merely hinted at before, by Hentenius, in the Preface to his Latin version of Arethas, Par. 1547. 8vo; and by Salmeron in his Preludia in Apoc. But no one had ever developed this idea fully, and endeavoured to illustrate and enforce it, in such a way as Alcasar … Although he puts the time of composing the Apocalypse down to the exile of John under Domitian, yet he still applies ch. v-xi to the Jews, and of course regards the book as partly embracing the past.
“It might be expected, that a commentary that thus freed the Romish church from the assaults of the Protestants, would be popular among the advocates of the papacy. Alcasar met, of course, with general approbation and reception among the Romish community. “‘(Stuart, Moses, “Commentary on the Apocalypse”, Allen, Morrill and Wardell, Andover, 1845, Volume 1, p. 464.)
Books Available in Sardinia and Piemontisii and Cordoba, Argentina
1613: Ludouici ab Alcasar Hispalensis, and Societate Iesu… *In eas Veteris Testaments partes, quas respicit Apocalypsis. Books quinque. Cum opusculo de malis medicis. – Prodeunt nunc primum. … – Lugduni: sumptibus Iacobi & Andreae Prost, 1631. – 12! , 312, 28! p. ; 2º. ((It marks not controlled (Aquila and snakes: In virtute ET fortune) on the front. – Segn.: a6A-2D62E8. – Front. printed in red and black.
1618: Rev. patris mysterious Ludouici ab Alcasar Hispalensis, and Societate Iesu… *Vestigatio sensus in Apocalypsi. Cum opusculo de sacris ponderibus ac mensuris. – Antuerpiae: apud Ioannem Keerbergium, 1614 (Antuerpiae: typis Gerardi WolschatI, & Henrici AertsI, 1614)
1614: Rev. Patris Ludovici ab Alcasar Hispalensis… *Vestigatio mysterious sensus in Apocalypsi. Cum opusculo de sacris ponderibus ac mensuris. – Antuerpiæ: apud heredes Martini Nutij, 1619. – , 960, 82,  p. : ill. calcogr. ; fol. ((Vignetta on the front. (Iustissima virtus pietas homini). – Text on two columns.
He was the son of D. Melchor del Alcázar y sobrino del primero entre nuestros vates festivos, del cincelador de la redondilla, del casi perfecto Baltasar del Alcázar, como escribía Menéndez y Pelayo, nació el año 1554, en pleno apogeo del catolicismo y la Monarquía. Melchor del Alcázar and nephew of the first among our bards holidays, the carver of the quatrain, the almost perfect Baltasar del Alcázar, as he wrote Menéndez y Pelayo
Jerome de Prado (b. Baeza in Spain, 1547; d. Rome, 13 Jan., 1595) was a Spanish Jesuit Biblical scholar and exegete who interpreted the Book of Ezekiel. Ludovic was one of his pupiles
“He was the eldest son of Melchor del Alcázar, a jurist, and nephew of the poet Baltasar del Alcázar, and was born in Seville. He studied at Seville,Cordova and Salamanca, entered the Society of Jesus in 1568, and became a priest in 1578. Alcázar was a friend of the Jesuit Juan de Pineda (1552–1637) (also a pupil of Jerome de Prado), and the Dominican Agustin Salucio; he died in Rome.
He is known for his Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi (1614) published after his death, putting forward what would later be called a preterist view of Biblical prophecy, in commentary on the Book of Revelation; his work is regarded as the first major application of the method of interpretation of prophecy by reading in terms of the author’s contemporary concerns. His view was that everything in the Apocalypse, apart from the three final chapters, refers to events that already have come to pass. He attacked Joachim of Fiore, in particular, for millenarianism. The book’s illustrations were after Juan de Jáuregui y Aguilar, who produced a series of 24 designs on the Apocalypse. He suggested that 2 Esdras was later than Revelations, and borrowed from it.
A further work was In eas Veteris Testamenti partes quas respicit Apocalypsis (1631).
Alcázar’s method was for the Book of Revelation, and was shortly taken up by Hugo Grotius. John Donne cites him in a sermon. Henry Hammond was an exception, among English Protestants, in following Alcázar’s interpretation. Alcázar is with Johann Heinrich Heidegger is referenced in Tristram Shandy as “Lewis de Acasar”.
He was a friend of Francisco Pacheco, and had an influence on the iconography of the Immaculate Conception: the horns of the crescent moon in Pacheco’s codification pointed away from the sun, as Alcázar and Galileo argued.
- “Jerome de Prado“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Robert A. Maryks, The Jesuit Order as a synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish ancestry and purity-of-blood laws in the early Society of Jesus (2010), p. 155 note 133; Google Books.
- (German) Klaus Reinhardt, Bibelkommentare spanischer Autoren (1500-1700): Autoren M-Z (1999), p. 193; Google Books.
- (German) Google Books.
- Google Books.
- (Spanish) PDF
- Judith L. Kovacs, Christopher Rowland, Rebekah Callow, Revelation: the apocalypse of Jesus Christ (2004), p. 103; Google Books.
- Google Books.
- Google Books
- René Bösch, Labyrinth of Digressions: Tristram Shandy as perceived and influenced by Sterne’s early imitators (2007); p. 139; Google Books.
- Eileen Reeves, Painting the Heavens: Art and Science in the Age of Galileo (1999), p. 184; Google Books.
- WorldCat page
- CERL page
- (Spanish) Dictionary article
- Luis del Alcázar in the Historical Archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University
Date: 29 Apr 2013
Thank you for posting this informative summary of a prominent Jesuit scholar whose eschatology has had a profound impact on prophetic interpretation to this day.