I don't agree with the assessment of Paul not being the author of the Timothy letters. We've heard so much and so long about how negative 1 Timothy was toward women from the authoritarians that we have not stopped to rethink it. It is my assessment that the first three chapters are actually very affirming of women when read in context, recognizing cultural influence and paying close attention to original language. Those three things are all it takes to clarify certain things. Because I see Paul’s strong affirmation of women in those three chapters I can relate it to his other affirmations of women: Priscilla (and Aquila) Phoebe, Junia and others.
First the arguing in chapter one includes both men and women. The Grk. word tis is an inclusive pronoun. One might ask what women would feel qualified to debate with men. Possibly women who have some sort of stature in society and who knew nothing about the Torah and Jewish spiritual teachings. A couple cues are Paul's admonition to attire and hair. Another clue was the need for the women to learn probably basic Biblical concepts like the Jewish beliefs of origins and Adam and Eve, holiness, charity, etc. Culturally in Ephesus we see non Jewish women who meet that criteria need. Ephesus was home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the temple of the goddess Artemis. There were women who served and taught there and held influential positions in the society. No Jewish woman would need to learn that it was Eve who was first deceived. But the women of the temple of Artemis taught that the man was the first to err and the second born along with a lot of other strange things. Poor Timothy would have been wise to have contacted his spiritual father, Paul, asking for help in dealing with these and related issues.
Second, Paul cites himself as one who was once a blasphemer and persecutor and who obtained mercy from God in Christ Jesus. The teachings of the temple of Artiemis qualify as a comparison in ignorance. But Paul obtained mercy in Christ as any sinner (wicked person, one devoted to erroneous beliefs) can, man or woman. However, Paul did not extend that mercy towards those who somehow knowingly blasphemed the Lord: Hymenaeus and Alexander.
Third, Paul extended that mercy to the deceived (himself included since he was deceived in not believing that Christ was the Messiah and persecuted many). Instead he pointed out what the women needed to do. They needed to put off their flamboyant temple attire and dress normally or modestly. The servants in the temple were known to have lavish attire and hairdo’s. Then, they must Learn. The word learn was in the imperative. “Manthano”, included hearing, increasing one’s knowledge and to learn by use and practice. Typically a Jewish student sat at the master’s feet (remember Mary sitting at Jesus’s feet) with quietness, obedience and attentiveness. We do not know how many women were involved with the arguing but the epistle curiously changed from addressing women (gunaikas: pl. ) to addressing “a woman” (gune: singular). We don’t have enough info to determine if that specified a group or actually one woman. At any rate that woman was to take the typical attitude of a learner: being submissively quiet and not debating. The word erroneously translated as usurp authority (authentein) was actually quite stronger. It is not used anywhere else in the new testament. Much research suggests that at that time it could still have had qualities of murderous intentions but possibly more likely it was noting the intent to take dominating control of another. This could indeed be something attributed to the servants of the temple.
Fourth, we enter chapter three. Here we note that anyone (tis: inclusive) not just “a man” can desire the good works of a bishop. The qualities listed start with being faithful in marital relationships. “A one woman man” is a saying indicating faithfulness and is still used today. The rest of the list are about one's character. I know there have been huge debates saying verse two was indicating the need to be married, to have never divorced, or to have only one wife. But none of those criteria are put forth anywhere else, while faithfulness is a common quality needed by those who are leaders. And the same phrase is used in 3:11-12 when addressing women deacons.
So, there are a few reasons why I do not discount 1st or 2nd Timothy and why I believe the author is indeed Paul.