The question of the ‘opponents’ in 1 John has long been recognized as significant for the study of that ‘letter’. The great commentaries by Theodor Häring, R. Law and Rudolf Schnackenburg make the conflict with the ‘schismatics’ the key to their interpretations. Most recently Raymond E. Brown1 has presented a detailed account of the conflict in the context of the history of Johannine Christianity as the basis for his own commentary. I find myself in general agreement with the approach and position set out there. But I remain unconvinced on a number of important issues where I find that my views remain fundamentally unchanged,2 not through stubbornness I trust. These views will need further elaboration and defence in due course. Before doing this certain preliminary matters need to be dealt with.