MBE BA (Hons) BA (Hons) MPhil MA MPhil

Associate Tutor in Philosophy and Christian Worldviews

Email: a.steele@spurgeons.ac.uk

Alan, the son of Scottish parents, was born in England and grew up in Zimbabwe. While at school he first read JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and part of him has permanently dwelt in Middle-earth ever since.

At university in South Africa he read for a BA(Hons) Degree majoring in Ancient History and Archaeology through which he developed a deep and abiding love for the Classics. After completing his studies he returned to Zimbabwe where, after working for Scripture Union, he was selected for Anglican ordained ministry in the Diocese of Harare. While training for ordination he read for a BA(Hons) in Religious Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, focusing on Biblical studies and languages, and was awarded the university prize for top student on the degree programme. After ordination he worked in parish ministry and school chaplaincy in Zimbabwe, finding time to return to Cape Town for a year’s postgraduate research on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In his mid-thirties Alan left Zimbabwe to join the British Army as a chaplain and served on operational tours in various interesting parts of the world. He was made an MBE for his work as a battle-group chaplain after a particularly demanding tour in Afghanistan. His last job was as the ethics lead for the British Army, building on the work of his predecessor, Rev Prof Philip McCormack.

Alan has always had a great interest in conservation and wildlife ecology and, therefore, helped run environmental education camps in Zimbabwe’s remote Zambezi Valley wilderness and, also, bushcraft training in Kenya and Uganda. His interest in conservation led him to obtain a Diploma in Environmental Conservation from Oxford University, and to go on to read for an MPhil in African Wildlife Management through the University of Pretoria. Nonetheless, he has always retained his first love of Classics and, so, also read for an MA in Classical Studies with the Open University, all while serving in an engaging and busy ministry as an Army chaplain. Subsequently, he read for a third masters degree, attaining an MPhil in Ethics from the University of Cardiff. He has been encouraged to publish his dissertation, which was on the practicable relevance and applicability of Thomist ethics to 21st Century persons.

During the COVID lockdown, Alan wrote a book on military history which was published in 2022. He has also written a book on African-specific bushcraft which he hopes to have published shortly. His research interests include virtue ethics, classical liberal arts education, moral and spiritual formation, and European ethnobotany, amongst many other things.

Alan is married to Avril and they have two children in their late twenties.