This book is interesting for a few reasons.
On the one hand it is a coherent reading of Matthew that unlike most conventional commentaries does not break it up into tiny pieces that no longer connect. Hauerwas is very focused on keeping the entire narrative together. He also constantly returns to the idea that reading the gospel is a training process of becoming Jesus’s desciple. He also uses for example John and Paul to interpret certain parts, which of course could be considered radical in a way. So it is interesting to read such a theological reading of Matthew, which of course is the point of the whole series.
The other interesting thing is to read what Hauerwas has to say about themes he has rarely written about elswhere, that do come up in the gospel. Two examples are fasting – in the context of Jesus temptations in the desert, and the Resurrection – where he basically repeats Jensons position, i.e. that the resurrection is the confirmation that the God that is revealed in the crucifiction actually exists.
There is obviously also a lot of ”standard Hauerwas”, like a very memorable discussion on being ”the young rich man” (Matt 19). At times Hauerwas mostly retells the gospel, and that is clearly a weakness, but one to be expected in this kind of work.
It would have been practical with more verse references – The book follows the chapters of the gospel, but that is minor. It is certainly one of the more interesting books written by Hauerwas, and one that would be useful also for non-academics.