Considerable light was shed on the heresy of gnosticism in 1945 when a number of ancient gnostic manuscripts were found in the Nag Hammadi Valley in Egypt. (Gnostics believe in secret or hidden knowledge and reverence women.)
It became clear from these new discoveries that gnostics believed that Adam and Eve were mythical figures and represented soul (Adam), and spirit (Eve). In gnostic teaching, the role of Eve was to awaken Adam, who was in a deep sleep.
Gnosticism was present in Asia around the time that Paul wrote to Timothy in Ephesus.
According to Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger in their book, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking I Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, an alternative reading to 1 Timothy 2:12, based on the Greek word authentein, might be:
“I do not allow a woman to teach nor to proclaim herself as originator of man.”
Another gnostic belief was that Satan was good and that Eve ate from the tree of gnosis (knowledge) in order to bring enlightenment to Adam.
We know that much of Paul’s letters to Timothy was written to combat wrong doctrine. If the 1 Timothy 2:12 passage were written to combat the heresy of gnosticism, what Paul writes next makes sense.
For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.
It makes sense to me…
Photo credit: http://www.nag-hammadi.com.