Members of the renowned International Project for Q have turned their attention to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the results are set to shake the foundations of the scholarly arena. Project director James M. Kloppenson in an announcement at Harvard Divinity School earlier this week stated that, "as we looked closer and closer at the scrolls, we discovered that the views of the sectarians at the inception of the community were very different to those discovered in the extant documents of today."
"While some scholars take the old approach of constructing a small exclusive community with apocalyptic interests" Kloppenson remarked, "in carefully stratifying these documents we have discovered that the earliest sectarians were not concerned with issues of Torah, purity or end days...they were an informal philosophical community owing much to surrounding Hellenization."
An early press release from the IPQ stated that "the Teacher of Righteousness is best understood in terms of Hellenisitc cynicism...a secular Jewish Diogenes of Sinope." Blogger Michael Eagle informally responded that the IPQ has found their "Californian Teacher of Righteousness...constructed in their own image." This scepticism was shared by former Christian scholar Bart Simpson who stated, " we only have copies, of copies, of copies, of copies of these documents...[and] although they were obviously wrong, the Community was concerned with end days."
Leif E. Mack in an interview exclaimed that the "implications for the study of early Christianity are amazing!" He went on that "it may be that these cynic-styled Jewish Essenes were the inspiration for Jesus' first followers. Gone are the days of apocalyptic Judaism - that is simply the construct of later mythmaking and fundamentalist scholarship will have to lay it to rest." Jon Cameron has also stressed this point, "we know that both John and Jesus were non-apocalyptic, and this best explains John's connection with the wilderness he shared with the Essenes...it just all finally makes sense."
May McCormick has expressed scepticism at the findings of the IPQ in an online response to Kloppenson writing that "the lack of apocalyptic interests in some documents represents a toning down as the end times did not come, if we were to look towards the kernal 4QMMT we find a Community and Teacher of Righteousness concerned with future eschatology."