Many of the criteria employed by Winterntiz, Law and Pande only work if one is already prejudiced as to the nature of early Buddhism. If one feels at the outset that the Buddha, being as it were, a reasonable sort of chap, taught a simple ethical doctrine uncluttered by myth, legend and magic, then it is a fairly straightforward matter to stratify the Nikayas accordingly. But in fact, given what is known of Indian thought from, say, the early Upanisads, there is no apriori reason why the earliest Buddhist thought should not have contained mythical, magical or "unscientific" elements, or - if we need to go back one stage further - why the Buddha himself should not have employed such elements in his own teaching. in fact there seems every reason to suppose that he would have.
Rupert GETHIN, 1992, The Buddhist Path to Awakening: A Study of the Bodhi-Pakkhiya Dhamma, p. 11
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .