The Catholic University of America

 Final Examination of

Adam N. Tune

for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

Wednesday, November 2, 2016



When God's People Lie: A Pyschological Examination of the Occurences of Deception in Samuel-Kings

Director: David Bosworth, Ph.D.

The phrase “biblical deception” can be viewed as something of an oxymoron.   While biblical law and wisdom literature bo   th advocate truth and prohibit lying, many of the characters in biblical narrative commit acts of deception and yet are not evaluated negatively.  Prior research on biblical deception has tended to assume an ethical stance not presented in the narrative texts.  These previous studies have also not presented enough analytical data, and none of them focus on the books of Samuel and Kings, which include many examples of deception. A history of this previous research is provided in chapter 1.

A new study was needed that did not operate out of any hermeneutic of morality.  This study utilizes the psychological theories of Truth Default Theory (TDT) and Information Manipulation Theory (IMT2) as   tools for biblical interpretation. These theories became a new way of reading acts of deception committed by characters as they are presented in Samuel-Kings. When acts of deceit are not viewed as ethical decisions made by the characters, they can then be read as a tactic of characters to attain a certain goal. In chapter two, an overview of these two theories is provided.

The third chapter of the dissertation contains a catalogue and commentary of the 43 scenes in Samuel-Kings that feature an act of deception. In chapter 4, the content and context of the scenes are examined in order to demonstrate why characters needed to deceive. Chapter 5 discusses the specific trigger events in the text that warn the reader of possible deception activity. Chapter 6 describes the particular environments (scenes involving a prophet or prophecy) as well as sensitive information (scenes pertaining to an act of anointing) that repeatedly require a character to utilize the art of deception.

In the final chapter, this new psychological reading of deception is used to submit a definition of "truth" iin Samuel-Kings. This allows readers of Samuel-Kings an opportunity to determine what was most important to the characters in the narrative, but it also enables one to understand the ultimate truths of the given author, and why deception was necessary.


More About Tune

Adam Tune began his work in the church as a minister of a small congregation in middle Tennessee.   He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Middle Tennessee State University.  He then received a Master of Arts in Bible at Lipscomb University in Nashville.  In 2009, he moved to Southern Maryland to become the preaching minister at the St Mary’s Church of Christ.  It was here that he decided to pursue doctoral studies at the Catholic University of America.  In 2015, he received a Master of Philosophy from the School of Theology and Religious Studies.  In the summer of 2016, he moved back to middle Tennessee and became the preaching minister for the Una Church of Christ in Nashville.  After completing his doctorate, he hopes to continue to write and especially preach in order to use what he has learned to help teach and lead the church.