In the 18 October issue of the London Tablet, Peter Stanford’s column draws attention to the list of the 100 Best Christian Books compiled by the Church Times, which claims to be “the world’s leading Anglican newspaper.” A sidebar explains the process: regular reviewers were asked to submit nominations, and from more than 700 titles, 120 were ranked in accordance with the number of mentions received. A panel of eight judges then met and decided on a final list of 100 titles. “Enduring value,” or “lasting influence,” seems to have been the chief criterion applied. It appears also that the titles are listed in order of merit. The editors note:
Best is, of course, a value judgement. We have kept it for this project because it is so obviously subjective. “Best” does not just cover a book’s intrinsic worth: it also prompts a consideration of what a book can achieve. Throughout our debate, we found ourselves balancing a title’s historical position with its place in our memories. A different set of judges on a different day — perhaps even the same set of judges — would certainly have come up with a different list.
Lists like this, of course, are made to be debated. So: which titles might you remove and which add to the list? Where would your ranking differ from that of the panel of judges?