Juan de Horozco y Covarrubias’s Tratado dela verdadera y falsa prophecia (1588) and the Influence of Medieval Apocalyptic Traditions in Post-Tridentine Spain
Juan de Horozco’s 1588 Tratado dela verdadera y falsa prophecia (“Treatise Concerning True and False Prophecy”) intersects with at least three topics that have been central themes in Ann Matter’s scholarship: visionary culture, female prophecy, and the subtle manifestations of apocalypticism through the centuries of Christian thought and practice. The Tratado was an influential manual that Horozco wrote to help confessors discern spirits, and it has received particular attention from historians for its discussion of female visionary experiences. In this essay, I call attention to Horozco’s own betrayal of an apocalyptic outlook in the Tratado, and his use of medieval prophetic traditions such as the Erythraean Sibyl to interpret the challenges and possibilities facing both the Catholic Church and Spanish society in his own day. Horozco’s Tratado reminds us that, even at the end of the sixteenth century, apocalypticism continued to give voice to the anxieties and hopes of ecclesiastical authorities, and had not become exclusively a voice of protest from the margins of church and society.