So far as I know, no one has written more trying to tease out the term Ausgangstext (translated as “initial text”) than Eldon Epp in his essay for J.K. Elliott’s Festschrift.
There (p. 54) he suggests that the earliest official definition is found in the second fascicle of the ECM1 in 2000. (The term is not used in the first fascicle on James published in 1997.) Later in the essay (p. 61 n. 61) Epp notes that J.K. Elliott reports having heard Barbara Aland use the term in a 1999 German broadcast they were part of together. If so, that would be the first recorded use (yes, we text critics can be pedantic).
|What I was doing in 1993.|
So for the two people who care, I can report that Gerd Mink defined the term way back when I was still watching cartoons. It’s in his 1993 NTS essay (p. 482):
The Ausgangstext is the text which the entire tradition originates from and which directly precedes the first relationship in various branches of the tradition. When textual criticism speaks about the original text, it typically means this Ausgangstext. It is only with this text that genuine text critical methods are dealing. Textual stages that may have been situated between the autograph and the Ausgangstext, are not accessible to text critical means. We would then be dealing with a linear path between the autograph and the Ausgangstext, which had left no trace in the manuscript tradition. (my rough translation)
After that, the next use I’ve found is in Klaus Wachtel’s 1995 dissertation (p. 45). There may be other early uses which I haven’t found.
I know you’ll all be able to sleep better this weekend knowing that.