Paternoster Press Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains archival material relating to the activities of the Paternoster Press between 1935 and 2007. This includes records concerning the running of the organisation such as account books and details of sales and orders of publications, and a stock list from 1959 describing publications available. The collection also includes some volumes of a magazine called Horizon, a children's magazine first printed in 1935 and the first publication of the Paternoster Press.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Paternoster Press was founded in 1935 by B. Howard Mudditt, the son of missionary parents, with the objective of producing good quality Christian literature. Based in London, the Press was launched with the publication of a magazine for children called Horizon, subtitled 'A Magazine of Today for the Men and Women of Tomorrow'. This was followed by the publication of the Brethren Magazine The Harvester. The first book to be published by the Press was God and the Children by G.R. Harding and J. Reginald Hill (1936) which remained in print until 1973. Much of the early output of The Paternoster Press consisted of publications for children including the popular Jungle Doctor series by Paul White which went on to be translated into more than thirty languages.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s The Paternoster Press increased the publication of books for adults and some key authors from this period included R.E.D. Clark, a physicist from Cambridge, H.L. Ellison, an Old Testament scholar, G.H. Lang, a well known Brethren speaker and the New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce. F.F. Bruce's first publications for the Press were a series of three books on the history of the early church. These books received global acclaim and were published in a single volume called The Spreading Flame which remained in print for many years and was reprinted to mark the 70th anniversary of the Press in 2005. F.F. Bruce went on to write many significant publications for the Press.

In 1962 The Paternoster Press moved from its premises in London to 3 Mount Radford Crescent in Exeter. Howard Mudditt's eldest son Jeremy who had joined the business in 1957, replaced his father as Managing Director in 1975. He was joined by religious studies teacher Peter Cousins in 1976 and this partnership led to an increasing publication of academic books by the Press. Key publications during the 1960s and 1970s including Israel and the Nations (1963) by F.F. Bruce, The Cross in the New Testament by Leon Morris (1963), the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church edited by J.D. Douglas and the New International Dictionary of the New Testament Commentaries edited by Ward Gasque and I. Howard Marshall. Another important series of books established in this period were the introduction to the Gospels publications which have remained almost continuously in print. These include I. Howard Marshall's Luke: Historian and Theologian (1972), Ralph P. Martin's Mark: Evangelist and Theologian, Stephen Smalley's John: Evangelist and Interpreter and R.T. France's Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher.

In 1988 The Paternoster Press was put up for sale following the development of a heart problem by Managing Director Jeremy Mudditt. In 1990 a Christian book distributor called Send the Light (STL) took over the sales, marketing and distribution of the books. The stock was transferred to STL's warehouse in Carlisle while editorial and production remained in Exeter. Shortly after the move the entire stock was destroyed by a fire at the STL warehouse. In 1992, STL took over the editorial and production of books and periodicals. At this stage Jeremy Mudditt was appointed as STL's Publishing Manager, while Pieter Kwant became Director of Publishing. During the years in Carlisle The Paternoster Press underwent a minor name change to Paternoster Press.

Pieter Kwant launched a marketing magazine called European Theology Media which later became Nota Bene and finally Engage in 2004. Paternoster Press's publications expanded to include video and computer software as part of the wider 'Paternoster Publishing'. Pieter Kwant established a board of theological advisors, chaired by Professor I. Howard Marshall, to offer advice to the Press on its publications. At the end of 1998 Pieter Kwant left the Press and was replaced by Mark Finnie who had joined the business in 1996. In 2001 Mark Finnie brought theologically trained Acquisitions Editor, Dr Robin Parry, an Old Testament scholar, to manage the booklist.

Recent significant publications of the Press include Liquid Church by Pete Ward, Gathering to His Name by Tim Grass, the Scripture and Hermeneutics series, After Christendom edited by Stuart Murray, Deep Church edited by Andrew Walker and Faith in an Emerging Culture. One of the most imported books to be published is Operation World, a guide to global prayer with entries from all over the world. This guide was awarded an Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (EPCA) Gold Medallion award in the USA.

In 1997 a series of monographs called Paternoster Biblical and Theological Monographs were launched by Jeremy Mudditt and I. Howard Marshall. The aim of these publications was to make high quality theses available through the use of new digital printing technology. The success of these monographs led to their division into five different series: Studies in Baptist History and Thought and Studies in Evangelical History and Thought (2002), followed by Paternoster Biblical Monographs, Paternoster Theological Monographs and Studies in Christian History and Thought.

In 2002 STL created a new multi-media company called Authentic Media and Paternoster Press, after a second name change to Paternoster, became the theological books division. This led to the further relocation of Paternoster to Milton Keynes where the Authentic team were based. STL purchased American distribution company Gabriel Resources in 2004. This company was renamed STL Inc. and became the distributor for Paternoster products in the USA. The publishing division of STL Inc. directed by Volney James became Authentic Books US. In March 2007 STL, by then the largest Christian book distributor worldwide, and the International Bible Society merged to form IBS-STL Global and led to the opening up of the American market for Paternoster.

Arrangement

The archive has been arranged into the following series: 

  • Magazines
  • Sales and order books
  • Publications stock lists
  • Account books
  • Company history

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed to the Library by Jeremy Mudditt.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The items in the collection were formerly the property of Jeremy Mudditt

Bibliography

Robin A. Parry, The Paternoster story: an evangelical publishing house from 1935 to the present day (Milton Keynes: Paternoster [ca. 2007])

Corporate Names