When a scholar says this is a Late Sutta is it a polite way of saying this Sutta was not taught by the Buddha himself?
Apologists for late literature will obscure the issue by arguing that even the early Suttas have been subject to editing and may have late elements. This is true, but it ignores the fact that “edited at a late date” and “composed at a late date” are entirely different kinds of things. Shakespeare’s plays have been edited by a series of different people starting in the 18th century, but they remain distinctively works of the 16th/17th centuries.
The EBTs mostly stem from the pre-Ashokan period, and for the most part they preserve the Buddha’s teachings. The late Suttas, which includes the later books of the Khuddaka and of course the Mahayana literature, were composed post-Ashoka. In the case of the Mahayana texts, they were composed between 500–1000 years after the Buddha’s death.