Bart Ehrman has announced that a new edition of Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research is being put together. I found the reason he noted to be telling. He wrote,
What was then the state of the question has now become a bit dated. A lot has happened in fifteen years! Arguably more than in any comparable fifteen year period in the history of the 300+-year-old discipline.
What has happened in the past fifteen years that is “arguably more than in any comparable fifteen year period in the history of…the discipline”? Has there been a discovery of a new Sinaiticus? Something akin to the DSS in OT research? A massive papyri manuscript find? No, actually, nothing like that at all. So why the paradigm shift?
Simple: the arena has become predominated by post-modernists who have thrown in the towel on the “original text” and have openly and shamelessly said, “Hey, let’s talk about what we can impute to nameless scribes based upon our mind-reading the reasons for their textual variations!” This is nothing less than an abandonment of the paradigm of the preceding generations, a hi-jacking of the discipline itself. While speculation about possible scribal prejudices may have its place, it will alway be just that: speculation. And there is the rub: once you turn to speculation about what someone was thinking way back when, the entire field–including the original words and intentions of the authors–becomes just so much “speculation.” Just as political liberals assure us that we cannot possibly know what the writers of the Constitution intended, so too theological liberals (and rank skeptics) assure us that whatever Paul or John or Peter wrote, we are pretty much out of luck in really knowing today.
Beware “leading scholars” who lead revolutions based upon a shift in worldview rather than a sudden increase in the underlying data relevant to that area of study. History tells us their revolutions are rarely worthwhile.