The German compound noun Formgeschichte (combining Form and Geschichte) might be more literally translated as "form history"; certainly the aspect of tracing out the possible history of the development of traditions in the New Testament has always been an integral part of Formgeschichte, at least for many (German) form critics. (27)
In other words, what in German scholarship is a single discipline—Formgeschichte—has been divided into two subdisciplines in English scholarship: form criticism on the one hand and the reconstruction of a tradition's history on the other. Tuckett, however, suggests a different bifurcation:
[P]erhaps we should distinguish carefully between two issues: the use of Jesus traditions in the early church and the origin of Jesus traditions. Both are important issues, but they need to be distinguished and should not be confused. (27–28)
This is certainly a helpful proposal; we cannot suggest that just because Jesus' early followers found a particular tradition useful for their purposes (instruction, apologetics, preaching, worship, etc.) that tradition must have been created by them for those purposes. If we discount every account of Jesus' polemical victory over his opponents (Pharisees, scribes, etc.) as Christian propaganda, we are left with the hypothesis that in the first century some people found Jesus' teaching persuasive even though Jesus never bested his contemporaries in debate, and that these people later created stories of Jesus' persuasive abilities in order to cover up that fact. Immediately after the quote on pp. 27–28, Tuckett refers to the well-known British scholar, T. W. Manson:
We can list these stories in the Gospels. We can label them . . . But a paragraph of Mark is not a penny the better or the worse as historical evidence for being labelled, "Apophthegm" or "Pronouncement Story" or "Paradigm."1
1 T. W. Manson, "The Quest of the Historical Jesus—Continued," in Studies in the Gospels and Epistles (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1962), 5; quoted in Tuckett, "Form Criticism," 212n. 34.