Born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, he wrote most of his works and carried out his secular activities in the town of which he came the Bishop.
From a very young age, he stood out as an academic and was sent to the Convent of San Francisco in Arévalo to complete his studies (1410-1415), moving on from there to the University of Salamanca. In the cultural capital of Castile, besides receiving an education, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the College of San Bartolomé (1437-1440) and, shortly after that, Professor of Theology.
His rise at the university suffered a setback when he was accused of following doctrines that veered from the official dogma and he was separated from his position. Confused by events, he left teaching and found shelter in faith, entering the Carthusian Order of Tarragona around 1444. Only two years later, he left the Order when he regained part of his prestige and was appointed Chancellor and, shortly after that, Bishop of Ávila thanks to the personal intercession of King Juan II. He held his position for only one year, dying in 1455.
His many writings (around 150 published works) were mainly comments on religious texts and make him possibly the most important theologian of the Spanish Middle Ages. His wisdom was based on sound knowledge of the classical languages and university studies in a wide variety of subjects, such as the arts, law and theology, etc. His wisdom was so well known that it led to the saying ‘you know more than El Tostado’. The nickname ‘El Tostado’ comes from his father’s second surname. He was also known as ‘El Abulense’.
His sepulchre in the Cathedral is the best-known work by the sculptor Vasco de la Zarza.