BOSTON (RNS) – Quick! The cameras are rolling! Cue the religion scholar to  compress centuries of religious history into a sound bite, elucidate complex theology in eight-word sentences — and guard against any stereotyping.

Religion scholars face such challenges when they comment on breaking news or serve as advisers to television and film producers.

Their goal is to ensure accuracy and avoid offense in media that portray the lives of the faithful and chronicle the impact of religious ideas, institutions and leaders.

But the role is a stretch and a risk for scholars.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Prothero

Popular entertainment media stress “the

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