Costa ben Luca
COSTA BEN LUCA
Christian philosopher, Arabic name Qusṭā-ibn-Lūqā (other Latin forms: Constabulus, Constabulinus); b. Baalbek, Syria, 864; d. Armenia, 923. While he acquired some fame in the East by translating Aristotle's works into Arabic, the West knew him exclusively as the author (not absolutely established, according to Cheikho) of four chapters on the difference between soul and spirit (De differentia animae et spiritus ). The work has professedly little originality, since it was meant to be nothing more than excerpts from plato, aristotle, Theophrastus, and galen. Following Galen, the author holds that spirit does not signify an incorporeal being higher than the soul, but "a certain subtle body," almost liquid or gaseous in character, within the human body. Yet, whereas Galen explains the vital functions in man by means of three spirits—in the liver, heart, and brain respectively—Costa ben Luca unaccountably omits the first, and does not accurately summarize Galen's anatomical doctrines. Spirit for him is "the proximate cause of life," while soul is "the more remote or great cause." The translation from Arabic into Latin was made by john of spain before 1143 (Alonso, 311). In the reorganization of the arts curriculum at Paris, 1255, the work became one of the required philosophical textbooks.
See Also: arabian philosophy.
Bibliography: a. anglicus, Excerpta e libro Alfredi Anglici de motu cordis: Item Costa-ben-Lucae De differentia animae et spiritus liber, ed. c. s. barach, tr. j. hispalensi (Bibliotheca philosophorum mediae aetatis 2; Innsbruck 1878). m. alonso, Temas filisóficos medievales (Ibn Dāwūd y Gundisalvo ) (Comillas 1959). l. cheikho and l. malouf, Traités inédits d'anciens philos. arabes musulmans et chrétiens (2d ed. Beirut 1911).
[i. c. brady]