When I was a cheery little theology undergraduate, I twice undertook pieces of work where I had just finished what I thought was a decent piece of (level appropriate) research when someone published something that did exactly what I'd just done, in one case in about three pages!
A good piece of primary research into how single people experienced church life was completed just as Kristin Aune published her book Single Women, Challenge to the Church (which is good stuff, just stole my thunder!). Then my attempt to use a literary approach to explore the relationship of the fourth gospel with antisemitism turned out to have been pre-empted by Adele Reinhartz in a few pages of her stunningly insightful and eminently readable book Befriending the Beloved Disiple: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John.
Now, just when I want to look at how Baptists write their own history, and I dare to suggest that they have not caught up with current trends in historical methods, two people publish books to undermine me!! Mind you at £50 and £35 each, I think I'll have to wait for libraries to get copies before I read them.
So, am I missing the boat or catching the tide? My current area of research goes far beyond historical method, and if Baptist history writing is developing, far from undermining my thesis, it gives it more relevance. Just makes the quest for originality that bit more elusive!