Does anyone defend the thesis that DN came first?

Do any recent Buddhist studies people defend the idea that DN is the earlier and MN and SN later texts? Not all of the material obviously, but the description of the path in DN2-13 where ethics is elaborated then mindfulness as situational awareness and then sense restraint then the hinderances then the 4 jhana then psychic powers with the mind made body etc - no 4 noble truths, no eightfold path, seems like as a stock description of the path that could predate a lot of the more numerical list based ones? (On the idea that numerical “ teaching aids” sort of formulations came later)


Interesting question. It was a belief in some earlier scholars of Buddhist studies that DN was the earliest of the nikayas, but I think that has been dropped.

But as you say, the passage on the gradual training is very fundamental. It’s one of the core doctrinal passages that is found in Suttas and Abhidhamma (twice, in Vibhanga and Puggalapannatti).