Citing personal communication with Andrew Errington, Brian Rosner suggests the following apt analogy on “Paul and the Law”:
Discussing Paul and the Law is a bit like being watched while you carve a chicken: it’s fairly easy to start well, but you quickly have to make some tricky decisions (about which everyone has an opinion), and it’s very easy to end up in a sticky mess with lots of bits left over that no one knows what to do with. Paul and the Law, 25.
For background, SBL did make a PDF version of the SBLHS’s 1st ed. at no additional charge to SBL members.
SBL explains rationale for not doing the same with the 2nd ed., at least thus far:
As with the first edition of the handbook, we anticipate the SBL Handbook of Style will be made available to members on the SBL website. But as with the first edition, we do not expect that to take place for a number of years. In the meantime, to enhance the value of the new handbook, SBL is building digital resources, such as bibliographic tools and spell-checking addons, which requires investing further in that development. (Questions Regarding Digital Editions of the SBLHS 2)
Doubtless, this reasoning won’t satisfy all. But since several folks have commented along these lines, I thought this further information from SBL might be of interest.