Sim, David C. "Chapter Nine: Matthew and Jesus of Nazareth." in Sim, David C., and Repschinski, Boris (editors). Matthew and His Christian Contemporaries. London: T&T Clark, 2008, 155-172.
In this chapter, Sim sets out to make "a comparison of Matthew's portrayal of Jesus with the real Jesus of history" (Sim 2008, 155). Sim goes on to describe his view of Matthew (whom he has concluded was not a disciple of Jesus) and how he adopted various creations of the early church. This results, in Sim's view, in Matthew not serving as a reliable source of information about the actual Jesus. As material for analysis, Sim selects "Jesus' involvement in a Gentile mission and . . . the attitude of Jesus towards the Torah" (Sim 2008, 156).
Matthew and Mark provide contrasting descriptions of a mission of Jesus in Gentile territory. Mark notes four occasions of Jesus visiting Gentile areas (Sim 2008, 157). In Mark, with one of the feedings of the multitude occurring in a Gentile area, the eucharistic connotation of the event suggests that Gentiles can be partakers of the Christian community. In contrast, Matthew normally restricts Jesus' ministry to Jewish territory. The few occasions when Jesus is seen in Gentile areas are very brief and may even show Jesus going toward those areas but remaining somewhat distant (Sim 2008, 158-159). The feeding of the multitude of Mark 7 (in Gentile territory) appears in Matthew 15 in Jewish lands (Sim 2008, 159). When Matthew 16-17 place Jesus in Gentile territory, almost all his interactions are with his disciples.
As he compares Jesus' attitude toward Torah in Mark and Matthew, Sim sees Mark's account affirming moral and ethical commandments but not the rituals included in the Law (Sim 2008, 1260). Matthew shows Jesus saying clearly that Jesus has not come to do away with Torah. Rather, he affirms it and strengthens it.
Sim attempts next to identify an historical Jesus within this dynamic, which he admits is a highly complex matter (Sim 2008, 161). Sim describes scholarship which portrays Jesus as having attitudes ranging from a broad mission to Gentiles to having very little contact with Gentiles. Likewise, some scholars see Jesus as abolishing the Mosaic Law and others portray him demanding obedience to it (Sim 2008, 162-163). Because the scholarship has such apparently irreconcilable differences, Sim moves to a study of the practices of early Christianity in Jerusalem, based on historic reconstruction (Sim 2008, 163). For this study, he relies heavily on Acts 1-5, with some nods to Pauline epistles (Sim 2008, 161). The original group of about 120 were people who knew Jesus; his disciples , and dedicated followers and their families. There was no clear attempt to reach out to Gentiles recorded in the earliest chapters of Acts. The community kept their practices of Torah, including presence at the Temple. The disciples are not charged with subverting Moses, with the exception of Stephen (Sim 2008, 165). The move beyond the boundaries of Judaism seems not to start in earnest until at least Acts chapter six (Sim 2008, 166).
Sim attempts to harmonize his observations about Matthew, Mark, and an historical Jesus. The widely divergent conclusions made by scholars create difficulty in determining the extent of continuity and discontinuity between Judaism and the new Christian movement (Sim 2008, 167-169). While Sim considers the problem virtually impossible to solve, he does think the portrayal of Jesus in Mark is less likely to be accurate in terms of his attitude toward Torah and a mission to Gentiles. The discontinuity is greater than he thinks would be found in Christianity as a whole (Sim 2008, 170).
Sim's conclusion is that Matthew may stand closer to an accurate portrayal of Jesus, in terms of his attitude about Torah and a Gentile mession, than does Mark (Sim 2008, 171). The discontinuity evidenced in Mark seems greater than he thinks would be warranted, based on early practices as recorded in Acts.