Dominic Crossan was another contributer to the PBS special YOU listed, did you not even look at what you referenced? What was your point in listing the contributors, are we supposed to be impressed by their titles? The world of academia is full of people with lovely titles that are so blinded by their own preconceived notions that their conclusions are written before any research is done. Pagels has received much criticism for her shoddy -if not deliberately misleading - translations of Irenaeus. Yale and Harvard and Duke divinity schools are noted for their liberal take on theology.<quoted text>
Here is the essay that I referened along with the contributors, all of which appear to be Professors, and no where is mentioned Dominic Crossan. Obviously you do not agree with these folks, which simply highlights, again, my point that Christianity is not a unified religion, but a religion of many sects each with their own interpretation.
Emergence of the Four Gospel Canon
Elaine H. Pagels:
The Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion Princeton University
L. Michael White:
Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin
John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion and Director of the Graduate Program in Religion Duke University
Harold W. Attridge:
The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament Yale Divinity School
Allen D. Callahan:
Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School
Since you did not provide a link to the quote I went looking for myself, if this is still not the exact quote, providing the correct context, then you will need to supply the reference.
It still sounds like a contrived argument for just four gospels.
"But it is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church has been scattered throughout the world, and since the 'pillar and ground' of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing incorruption on every side, and vivifying human afresh. From this fact, it is evident that the Logos, the fashioner demiourgos of all, he that sits on the cherubim and holds all things together, when he was manifested to humanity, gave us the gospel under four forms but bound together by one spirit." Against Heresies 3.11.8
To repeat: The Diatesseron - referenced by L Michael White was written in the mid 2nd century - is an obvious reflection of the acceptance of the early church by those four gospels as the "true" gospels - Irenaeus writing approximately 10-20 years LATER is simply using the four zones, four winds, etc to illustrate to his audience that it was "fitting" that there are four gospels, not that that was the BASIS for choosing only four gospels.
Please read your own references: look at your reference quotation from Irenaeus and then look at Pagel's supposed quote from Irenaeus in your original post - she misquotes him and states he said "There actually are only four authentic gospels. And this is obviously true because there are four corners of the universe....". It gives a completely different almost "cart before the horse" rationale. But regardless of Irenaeus statements, the point is that the four gospels were the accepted gospels long before Irenaeus made his statement, he is just reflecting that acceptance as he was supporting his arguments against the so called Gnostic gospels that some people were attempting to declare as valid, despite their obvious late writing and deceptive authorship. And again, Pagels is simply showing her bias as she herself is an adherent to the Gnostic ideas.