Harrington, Daniel J. "Chapter One: Matthew and Paul." in Sim, David C., and Repschinski, Boris (editors). Matthew and His Christian Contemporaries. London: T&T Clark, 2008, 11-26.
Harrington compares Matthew and Paul, who appear to take very different positions in terms of Christian theology, despite their solid roots in Judaism (Harrington 2008, 11). Because Paul wrote some time before Matthew, Harrington addresses Paul first, then Matthew in each topic he considers.
The contextual differences of Paul and Matthew need to be taken into account (Harrington 2008, 12). The letters of Paul, simply due to their nature as letters about topics, are different in their emphasis and structure than a gospel account, as Matthew wrote. Matthew's narrative gives highlights of Jesus' teaching and life, beginning with an infancy narrative, continuing with a description of his work with his disciples, and ending with an account of his death, resurrection, and post-resurrection appearances. Harrington thinks if Paul had written a Gospel, it would be much like Mark, and that if Matthew had written letters, they would be more like James. Paul's letters, from about the 50s, acknowledge tensions among Christians and between Jews and Christians. Matthew, probably written after the Roman destruction of the temple in 70, shows signs of an increasing animosity of the Jewish authorities toward Christians (Harrington 2008, 13).
Paul routinely refers to Jesus in terms of Christology. He calls him "Lord," as well as "Christ." Harrington takes this to indicate rapid development of Christology (Harrington 2008, 13). Paul's attention in Christology is focused on Jesus' death and resurrection (Harrington 2008, 14). Paul attaches other theological topics to the death and resurrection of Christ, which serves as his theological hub. While Paul rarely makes clear reference to Jesus' teachings, he frequently references his person and his actions. Matthew uses a similar christology, but also presents Jesus as the ultimate authoritative teacher. The five major discourses use Jesus' words to teach, rather than focusing on his actions.
Analysis of the attitude toward Law and Love presents a challenge. Paul makes positive and negative comments. However, Harrington concludes that "Paul did not believe that any Christian . . . was required to observe every part of the Mosaic Law" (Harrington 2008, 15). By being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit, people were gathered into God's covenant. Yet Paul has a respect for the Mosaic Law. It is simply his understanding that it will not justify people, as Christ did (Harrington 2008, 16). Matthew's audience, as contrasted with Paul's, was composed mostly of those who had grown up in Judaism. They were accustomed to learning and practicing the Torah (Harrington 2008, 17). The Mosaic Law, in Matthew, is something to be fulfilled by Jesus. It serves as a valid measure of our life. Though Matthew and Paul have many of the same conclusions, Matthew considers teaching the commands to remain essential (Matthew 28:19) (Harrington 2008, 18).
Morality in life is a concept not far removed from that of keeping Torah. Harrington considers Paul to emphasize a goal of resurrection, but also the need to live a life characterized by the three virtues of faith, hope, and love (Harrington 2008, 18). All these virtues originate in God, not in our own abilities. Paul lists numerous vices to be avoided as well. Matthew emphasizes virtues in a slightly different way, primarily through the Sermon on the Mount. The acts of piety show wise conduct in society (Harrington 2008, 19). The prime virtue is a life of righteousness and justice. Harrington doesn't say whether he considers Paul's faith, hope, and love to be a summary of this.
Harrington moves on to discuss "communal conflicts." The examples he gives are related to living at peace within the community (Harrington 2008, 20). Paul writes forcefully to condemn examples of sexual immorality. In cases of conflict over food sacrificed to idols, however, there is a very gentle and permissive attitude, but also a focus on acting in such a way as to care for one's neighbor. In his writing, Paul regularly appeals to the person of Christ (Harrington 2008, 21). Matthew, because he is presenting his narrative through words and deeds of Jesus, uses Jesus' humility as the exemplar for our life in community. Avoiding scandal which would cause someone to stumble is at the heart of life in the community. Harrington notes that Matthew does present steps for conflict resoution in a level of detail which Paul does not have (Harrington 2008, 22).
In his discussion of salvation and of eschatology, Paul sees a dualism. Either a person is dominated by sin and death or by righteousness and life (Harrington 2008, 22). Paul's writing often urges his readers to a living realization of their identity in Christ. This move urges an eschatological view of what we will be in eternity (Harrington 2008, 23). Matthew tends to look farther to the future than Paul. Harrington considers this emphasis to be related to the genre. While Paul is writing letters dealing with settings roughly 20 years after the resurrection, most of Matthew is set prior to the resurrection. Therefore, there is little said about the present Christian life. It is set for the future, as compared to the instance in which Jesus is acting or speaking (Harrington 2008, 23).
Harrington concludes by considering whether Paul and Matthew would have known one another. That we do not know (Harrington 2008, 24). Matthew's Gospel was written after Paul's death, so Paul could not have known the document. It is possible that Matthew may have written partly to provide a more clearly Jewish context for Christianity, compared to Paul. Harrington observes that David Sim sees Matthew and Paul as in sharp opposition (Harrington 2008, 25). Harrington considers them to have much in common but to differ significantly in some nuances. This would make a discussion between the two fascinating (Harrington 2008, 26).