The Sephardic front is authoritatively represented by Maimonides, who ... [treats] all Christians as “idolaters” tout-court. Next to this negative vision of Christian theology, Maimonides does however give a more open and moderate assessment of the Messianic role of Christianity and Islam in the world. Here is for instance a passage of the Treatise on Kings, which does not appear in all editions (of the Mishneh Torah), because in most of them it is censored: “... all the words of Jesus of Nazareth and of the son of Ishmael [Mohammed] who came after him are aimed at paving the way to the King-Messiah and at preparing the whole world to serve God together, as it is written: ‘because I shall then transform the language of the peoples into a pure language, so that all shall invoke the Name of the Lord shall serve him in a sole unit [all together, in harmony]’ (Sof. 3,9)”. ...Maimonides lets Christianity and Islam, so to speak, do a “qualitative leap”: he includes the two religions within a sole providential plan that sees them as protagonists of a preparatory itinerary of humanity as a whole towards the [Judaic] Messianic event.
... Maimonides’ ambivalent opinion – negatively on the theological level, but positively open in its Messianic perspective – appears to be the clearest and most straightforward affirmation of the involvement of Christianity in a providential role of a Messianic-providential type. And this opinion continues to represent a major stepping stone in the path that Christianity and Judaism make together, though along parallel and distinct planes. Maybe even the category of the “descendants of Noah,” which is admittedly rather inadequate and weak, may still be used to think of Christianity in Jewish terms and to reconcile conceptually (and not only conceptually) the two religions.(Rabbi Prof. Giuseppe Laras, Rome, 4th November 2004 at the Pontifical Gregorian University)
Does this sound familiar? It should, if you read the following essay entered on this blog a few months ago: http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2007/02/jpiis-522-jest-at-expense-of-noachides.html