The authenticity of Jesus’ teaching

The assumption that tradition was created to meet needs and answer questions faced by the early Christian communities is seen to be in need of major qualification. After all, there were many issues that vexed the early church, to which Jesus offered no word of clarification. These include spiritual gifts, church officers, various doctrines, and, more importantly, teaching that speaks to the Gentile problem. If dominical tradition was freely created, as many form and redaction critics once assumed, then why did not teachings attributed to Jesus arise that might have resolved some of these controversial issues? The inference that should be drawn from this observation is that early Christian communities were not given to the creation of dominical tradition.

—C A Evans, “Reconstructing Jesus’ Teaching: Problems and Possibilities”, in Charlesworth and Johns (eds.), Hillel and Jesus, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997.