Devils and Deviants takes up the question of the impact of religious schism on the composition of 1 and 2 John. After decades attempting to reconstruct the beliefs of the schismatics referenced briefly in 1 John, Johannine scholars have largely rejected the notion that such a reconstruction can in fact be accomplished. In addition, there has been a notable move by some to interpret 1 and 2 John non-polemically, arguing that the schism has little or no bearing on the composition of these epistles and our ability to interpret them. In this volume, Merritt turns to the anthropology and sociology of religious schism to reconstruct the processes by which groups separate themselves from one another. He then applies that model as a heuristic device in reading 1 and 2 John, arguing in the process that, while the beliefs of the schismatics cannot be reconstructed with any accuracy, the schism has indeed had a profound impact on the Johannine community and 1 and 2 John. ""Devils and Deviants represents a significant step forward in the interpretation of the Johannine Letters. It is a must and unique read in understanding the identity of the Johannine community through the lens of fresh questions and various methodological approaches, including drawing on community studies. I would highly recommend this volume to any reader who is interested in understanding ancient communities and groups, but also communities and groups facing conflict and division today."" --Francisco Lozada, Jr., Charles Fischer Catholic Associate Professor of New Testament and Latina/o Church Studies, Brite Divinity School ""Merritt makes wise critical use of social science research and models along with rhetorical analysis to re-examine the multiple layers of separation language in the Johannine literature. He raises the right questions to elicit new and different perspectives from the traditional ones."" --Carolyn Osiek, Archivist, Society of the Sacred Heart, United States-Canada Province; Charles Fischer Professor of New Testament Emerita, Brite Divinity School Jason L. Merritt is instructor of classical Greek and rhetoric at Covenant Classical School and a translation consultant for Bible League International. He holds a PhD from Brite Divinity School (Texas Christian University).