Young, Stephen E. "Chapter Two: A Brief History of Scholarship on the Sources of Jesus Tradition in the Apostolic Fathers." Jesus Tradition in the Apostolic Fathers. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011, 36-69.
In this chapter, Young surveys scholarly literature, mostly from the 20th century, related to Jesus traditions in the apostolic fathers. He primarily pursues what he considers "major works" (Young 2011, 37).
The pattern of scholarly inquiry shifted in 1905, "with the publication of The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, written by a Committee of the Oxford Society of Historical Theology" (Young 2011, 39). This work suggested that the Apostolic Fathers used a corpus of traditional materials about the acts and sayings of Jesus, but did not use the canonical Gospels.
Works of Massaux and Koester in the 1950s continued to evaluate sources for sayings of Jesus (Young 2011, 42). Massaux preferred, when possible, to act with an assumption that the Fathers had drawn upon the canonical Gospels. He made assessments based on what he considered to be "literary contact," or a verbal concurrence (Young 2011, 44). In contrast to Massaux, Koester is generally approving of recognition of non-canoical sources (Young 2011, 45). He has a stronger tendency, according to Young, to assign sayings to oral tradition than did the Wxford Committee. Koester views the oral tradition as sufficiently forceful that no appeal to written sources was necessary in the patristic period (Young 2011, 46). Thus, Koester assumes the use of a written Gospel as what must be proven.
In 1985, Donald Hagner wrote an article further exploring the use of oral materials rather than the written Gospels (Young 2011, 48). In contrast to Koester, Hagner views the oral tradition as a relatively static and authoritative tradition, thus helpful in tracing what Jesus may have said (Young 2011, 51).
In 1987, Köhler, with knowledge of both Massaux and Koester, pursued a point of view which was accepting of redaction criticism as a positive tool but which recognized that a source could be put to use even without a specific citation or level of verbal similarity (Young 2011, 51). Young does note that Köhler does not go so far as to identify oral tradition as a source of sayings. This associates Köhler clearly with Massaux in terms of philosophy (Young 2011, 52).
Making refinemenets to Koester's method, Young reviews the work of C.M. Tuckett (1989) and Andrew Gregory (2003). While Tuckett accepted the influence of oral sources in principle, he recognized the caution needed in treating all sources fairly. It is possible that redaction and, even more so, oral influence may have invisible stages. Direction of influence is not always apparent, and it is plausible that multiple versions of a source document may have existed and have been used by different authors (Young 2011, 54). In general, Young observes while Tuckett uses Koester's methods, he ends up affirming Massaux's view that the Gospels were present and served as sourcedocuments for the apostolic fathers (Young 2011, 55).
In contrast to most scholarly work, Andrew Gregory asked whether Luke/Acts was an influence on other early Christian texts (Young 2011, 55). Gregory seeks a decisive way to identify whether a literary feature comes from a particular source and no other place. Young sees this as a very difficult standard to pursue (Young 2011, 56).
In 2005, Tuckett and Gregory edited a series of essays, The New Testament and the Apostolic Fahters, which serves as an homage to the Oxford Committee work of a hundred years earlier (Young 2011, 60). Young briefly surveys a number of articles which pertain directly to authors and topics he will discuss in later chapters.
Young concludes that if scholars have learned anything definitive, it is that the available sources for interaction of Apostolic Fathers and Jesus traditions are ambiguous by nature (Young 2011, 67). Clear evidence for concrete usage of specific texts is not forthcoming, though it seems clear that ideas and wording were shared at times among documents. Young can, however, conclude with some certainty that the canonical Mark and Luke do not seem to have been used directly by the Apostolic Fathers (Young 2011, 68).