It's not undervalued. It's just that some people don't accept "scientific history" or materialist textual criticism as the only criterion of authenticity. For example the buddhists writing the commentaries did not. They accepted their oral traditions, including the "supernatural" accounts of where the abhidhamma came from, etc. Similarly the early Mahayanists did not. They accepted their
oral traditions, supernatural accounts, etc. And above all these folks accepted the fruits of their renunciation and practice as the "proof in the pudding."
A moderner might think they know "what the Buddha actually said" because effectively someone told them "what the Buddha actually said." And that someone was probably working with a scientific-materialist conception of history and textual criticism. And on this basis that someone and the moderner that follows them might reject everything that isn't the four nikayas. Any word
that doesn't appear in the nikayas is to be rejected, regardless of what the meaning
of that word is and whether that meaning was perhaps encompassed by different
words in those same nikayas. And then they'll take it further and start rejecting parts of those four nikayas that don't seem to fit, all on the basis of highly questionable criteria. In the end it all becomes a massive petitio principii
: The textual critic has merely found what they assumed was there to begin with, and rejected anything that didn't support that.
If one needed "scientific history" or materialist textual criticism to establish authenticity then the only Buddhists worthy of the name showed up in the 20th century. Venerables Buddhaghosa, Upatissa, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Dogen, Garab Dorje, Gorampa, Bankei etc didn't even have the means
to engage in this exercise, even if they would have been so inclined. What they did have, is a rich oral tradition that in one way or another went back to the source, full of "historical mistakes" but also full of a great many things which by definition outstrip and exceed what can be known by us now, things which possibly put them far "closer" to the source than we can ever get. But that can't be read, measured, quantified, etc, and therefore it never existed right? This is what I was obliquely getting at here
I find EBT studies fascinating. I also find them full of wild speculation, gratuitous assumptions and arguments so flimsy that at times I can't believe my eyes. I'm sorry if anyone finds this offensive. Despite being drawn to many monks who are neo-sautrantikas ("sutta only" types) I have always had a profound distaste for protestantism, fundamentalism, reductionism, etc. I prefer a more balanced approach, and my nature is to give those that sacrifice everything for the sake of the path the benefit of the doubt, even if they formulate things in ways that strike me as off.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53
"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.
That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."