The work of the form-critics on the Gospel has directed our A attention more than ever before to the historical development of the material of the tradition, which took place before the fixing of our Gospels in writing. Collections of single or several words of Jesus, and narratives about Jesus, were establishing themselves already in the early Church, and were passed on by it. How far this tradition was already in part written down, or, as with the oldest Jewish traditions, was only orally transmitted, is not a question of importance for us here, but in any case it could never be solved with certainty. That is also true, as M. Dibelius has rightly stressed, of the much quoted “Q source”. It is indeed very probable that already before the composition of our Gospels, there were smaller writings, above all collections of words of Jesus, but it is in no way possible to define or demarcate them more exactly. On principle, this whole stream of tradition, whether it is transmitted in written or oral fashion, in so far as it is not yet channelled in our Gospels, can and must be handled as a unit. When in the title we speak of an “oral” tradition concerning Jesus, we mean simply the tradition concerning Jesus which existed before the Gospels. Similarly, in the Jewish tradition of the Old Testament law, the interpretations of the law were at first orally handed down from Rabbi to pupil, and then later written, but neither the fact of this taking place, nor the time when it took place, are of any fundamental importance for this Jewish tradition.