During a program in which Amy Jill Levine was interviewed on the topic "Who Was Jesus of Nazareth" she says:
In terms of what I do historically ... what I hope to have happen is . . . when studying the texts with me . . . individuals: Christian, Unitarian, Jewish, atheist, Muslim ... whoever . . . will be able to see in fact the different portraits of Jesus that are available and rotate not only the concerns about . . . you know . . . . 'he died in order that my sins be washed away' . . . . but go back prior to the cross and see what sort of life he lived as well as death he died, because it seems to me that unless we take this historical Jesus here defined as the entire Jesus story, seriously and only concentrate on the cross ... and only concentrate on the resurrection, we've done a disservice to Jesus ... we've certainly done a disservice to the New Testament, which gives us a fourfold story, and I think that we've done disservice to God as well in terms of how faith has to have some sort of action to it.
Forget who is speaking for a moment and stand back and read the words again. This could be an encapsulation of the position taken by Paul's opponents regarding his obsession with the cross as the central metaphor in Jesus-adoration.
Just an observation.