Biblical Studies Bulletin is a good resource for recent developments in biblical studies, mostly from a moderately conservative outlook. I was surprised to see the following comment in the June issue, which was just posted online, from a short section on problematic translations:
One reading that really baffles me (and is particularly important in the Church of England at the moment) is the translation of 1 Tim 2.12. The key word 'authenthein' is a hapax, that is, it occurs only here in the New Testament. The more usual word for 'exercise authority' is 'exousiazein' and the commentators agree that 'authenthein' has the sense of 'misusing authority' or 'usurping authority.' So why is it that modern translations, almost without exception, translate this simply as 'have authority'? The AV correctly used the phrase 'usurping authority' and the only modern translation I could find on BibleGateway.com that continues this is something called the '21st Century King James.' I had never heard of this before, but here it is more faithful to its predecessor than the New King James.
Here is the response I sent them:
I'm writing to correct an error stated in Ian Paul's section on translation errors in the June 2005 Biblical Studies Bulletin. He states:
the commentators agree that 'authenthein' has the sense of 'misusing authority' or 'usurping authority.' So why is it that modern translations, almost without exception, translate this simply as 'have authority'?
The reason the translations are unwilling to translate that word in such a controversial manner is that the commentators don't in fact agree on this. I'm not sure how someone familiar with the commentaries could miss this. It's true that a number of commentators have taken that view, but George W. Knight's NIGTC and William Mounce's WBC, two extremely important commentaries on the Greek text, do not agree with such a translation. The authors in Women In The Church: An Analysis Of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Andreas Koestenberger and Thomas Schreiner, also disagree, with one whole chapter just on this word and another one arguing that the sentence structure requires taking this word positively and not negatively. I believe Luke Timothy Johnson's I Timothy commentary in the Anchor Bible series also takes the word not to be a negative usurpation of power but simple exercise of authority. Claiming that the commentators agree on this is simply irresponsible and shows either an attempt to rule some commentators out of contention because of their views or a real unfamiliarity with the literature on this issue. This is a genuine debate, and the fact that all the commentators on one side of the debate agree does not minimize those who just as strongly think a different view is correct.
I'll refrain from psychoanalyzing the author of the piece, but it really amazes me to find a statement in a publication by biblical scholars that so flatly contradicts the facts about where the scholarship is on this issue, something anyone at all familiar with the debate will recognize. It's as if you can win the argument simply by pretending the people who disagree with you don't exist or aren't real scholars.