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These Things Did Thomas Count as Real

Author: Thomas H. Troeger

Professor Thomas H. Troeger is ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church and as a minister in the Presbyterian Church. He has written 20 books in the fields of preaching, poetry, hymnody and worship. He studied at Yale University, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Dickinson College and Virginia Theological Seminary. He is also a poet whose work appears in the many hymnals, and is frequently set as choral anthems. NN, Hymnary Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: These things did Thomas count as real
Title: These Things Did Thomas Count as Real
Author: Thomas H. Troeger (1983)
Language: English
Copyright: Text and music © 1984, Oxford University Press, NY
Article: "These Things Did Thomas Count as Real" Thomas H. Troeger by Herman G. Stuempfle (from The Hymn)


Scripture References:
all st. = John 20:24-29

Thomas H. Troeger (b. Suffern, NY, 1945) says, "I wrote [this] hymn to help people sing their way past doubt and skepticism to belief in the risen Christ." Inspired by the doubting Thomas story (usually read on the Sunday after Easter), Troeger wrote the text during a Lenten week he spent in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in 1983. Both text and tune were published in the Troeger/Carol Doran collection New Hymns for the Lectionary–To Glorify the Makers Name (1986). "These Things Did Thomas Count" is one of the finest of Troeger's texts and indeed of the latter twentieth century.

Stanzas 1 and 2 describe Thomas's view of reality–so close to our own materialistic conception–in fresh language that recalls Christ's crucifixion. Stanza 3 depicts the movement from doubt to faith with that wonderful line, "until his fingers read like braille the markings of the spear and nail." Stanza 4 is a prayer for true faith to receive the Christ, who holds out his hands to us as he did to Thomas.

Following his education at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and Colgate Rochester Divinity School, New York, Troeger was associate pastor of the Presbyterian Church in New Hartford, New York, from 1970 to 1977. In 1977 he became professor of preaching and parish ministry at his alma mater, now called Colgate Rochester Divinity /Bexley Hall/ Crozer Theological Seminary. Since 1991 he has taught homiletics and communication at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Troeger is an active leader of workshops and seminars on worship and often does so in association with Carol Doran. Troeger and Doran have published several hymn collections: Open to Glory (1983), New Hymns for the Lectionary (1986), and New Hymns for the Life of the Church (1992), with texts by Troeger and tunes by Doran. Troeger has also written several other books, including Are You Saved: Answers for the Awkward Question (1980) and Creating Fresh Images for Preaching (1982).

Liturgical Use:
Sunday after Easter (like 393); other services that focus on issues of doubt and faith; the text is also useful for individual study or for sermon material.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Carol Ann Doran (b. Philadelphia, PA, 1936) composed the unison tune MERLE MARIE for this text in Rochester, New York, in 1983. The tune is named in honor of Troeger's wife. The symmetrical melody shifts between C major and B-flat major. Doran intended that this shift depict the two realities with w…

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Instances (1 - 7 of 7)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #256Text InfoAudio
Hymnal Supplement 98 #831
Hymnal Supplement II #60
Lutheran Service Book #472
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #394Text InfoTune InfoAudio
The New Century Hymnal #254
Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #649