Augustine Shutte: 1938–2016

23 May 2016

1938 – 23 May 2016

Augustine Shutte, who taught philosophy at UCT since 1972, died in the early morning of Monday 23 May, from a cancer which had gradually spread throughout his body.

He was well-known as a popular lecturer on science and religion and edited a volume of essays through a Templeton Foundation grant, The Quest for Humanity in Science and Religion: the South Africa experience (2005). He is also author of Ubuntu. An ethic for a new South Africa (2001), following on from the earlier Philosophy for Africa (UCT Press, 1993).

Previously he had been ordained first in the Anglican, then the Catholic Church, and was a member of the Dominican Order of friars. He married twice, to Stephanie Gerard, with whom he had three children Jonathan, Thomas and Anna, and then to Acilia Schoeman. At various points he was chair of the Catholic Theology Society of South Africa and of the UCT Philosophy Society. His philosophy was broadly Aristotelian and Thomistic but transposed into a modern key of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, and issued in a PhD entitled, “Spirituality and Intersubjectivity”, in which the influence of Karl Rahner and of John Macmurray was prominent. Much of his writing was engaged in grappling with the dominant materialist and reductionist trend in philosophy in the English-speaking world, in order to offer a non-materialist but non-dualist alternative.

His theology matured over a period of fifty years of reflection recorded in his recently completed memoirs, not yet published, from an orthodox (but progressive) understanding to a version of the Christian faith in a secular and scientific age open to all religious traditions. The earlier thought was published as The Mystery of Humanity (1993) and the more developed in a series of articles put together as The Christian God. He has recently practiced as a priest in the Roman Catholic Women’s Priest Movement and has been active in the reform movement We Are All Church South Africa. His poems have enlightened and amused his many friends. His novel, Conversion, set largely in the Dominican priory in Stellenbosch in the late 1960’s, is available in a kindle version.

The memorial service for Augustine Shutte will take place on Saturday 28 May 2016 at 14:00.
Venue: Christ Church, Constantia, corner of Main and Parish Road.

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