Writing in the most recent edition of the Tablet (“Judaism’s way to salvation”, 29 March 2008) Cardinal Christoph Schönborn suggests a way out of the maze surrounding the question of evangelisation and the Jewish people (most recently stirred up by the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the Extraordinary Use of the Latin Rite).
What he suggests is quite radical, but I think it clearly shows a way ahead in this discussion. Here is how the Cardinal summarises his own essay:
The following short article tries – very simply – to consult the New Testament in an attempt to give an answer to the theory of the “Two Ways to Salvation”. The article tries to show that according to the New Testament and from the Christian point of view there is only one salvation in Jesus Christ, but two clearly distinguishable ways of proclaiming and accepting this salvation. In this respect it must be made clear that the overture/offer to the Jews to recognise Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah cannot simply be equated with Christ’s mandate to evangelise all (heathen) nations and make them his disciples (cf. Matthew 28: 18-20). That is what I have tried to explain below.
I think he is really onto something here, and he demonstrates this from the New Testament.
However, the article is a bit light on. It makes a suggestion, and gives reasonable basis for that suggestion, but there isn’t room in a Tablet article for greater scholarly expansion. We understand that the editors do not wish to overtax their general readership. In this sense, the article is a little like Cardinal Schönborn’s famous New York Times article on Creation and Evolution. Hopefully, as with that article, the good Cardinal will follow up this suggestion with an entire book.