Question: Why did the all authors start calling God as both Yahweh and El after Exodus and not before this point?

I love your question and am not sure about the answer. I think–and this is my own speculation– the Judean, J, author only saw God as Yahweh and wanted to make sure that God was established as Yahweh from the beginning. J is much more invested in the peaceful coexistence story of Abraham through Jacob. J is much less involved in the story of the 10 commandments. For J, Moses is less important than Abraham and Jacob because their story provides a common origin for a diverse group of Hebrew people. 

On the other hand, E and P really emphasize the story of Moses (and Aaron for P). I think they use El to create tension and dramatize the moment God reveals his name. For them, God saved this revelation for Moses of all the people on earth. I am not sure why, but here’s my theory: 

  • The P writer, who probably did exist, wanted to emphasize Moses’s story because it most closely paralleled their own struggle in Babylon. P also wanted to emphasize God’s revelation to Moses and Aaron because P thought it authorized the Priesthood, which was the governing power in Judah after the kings were destroyed.¬†Friedman argues that the priestly line began with the Levites who, he believes, first brought the name Yahweh and synthesized that identity with the native god El. So again, they might want to emphasize that symbolic moment when El and Yahweh become one.¬†
  • E–if E really existed–might well have been a Deuteronomist. There is a theory that Deuteronomy began as a reform book in the north of Israel and was transported south after the Assyrian conquest of the north. If E existed, he was probably northern; he used northern place names, for example. So E might also have wanted to emphasize the delivery of God’s law to Moses as a special moment in history, a moment in which Deuteronomic laws are delivered to Moses. If God provided all the laws–including the ones in Deuteronomy–early in history, then all of the Israelites’ suffering at God’s hands is deserved because they should have known better. That’s the Deuteronomic position: suffering happens when you disobey God’s laws. So, again, E chooses this moment of God’s appearance to Moses as the moment to reveal his name. E does this to emphasize the day in which God chooses his people by assigning his laws to them and sharing his personal identity with them. That’s the moment when they are to understand that gods with OTHER names like Baal are not for them. For E, then, this is the moment, and not the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis, is when the Jews become God’s people.
  • Anyway, whether you believe the religion begins in Genesis with Abraham or Exodus with Moses, both these beliefs stress than monotheism existed from the beginning. I believe both these ideas are a fiction. I think that the authors of Deuteronomy imposed monotheism by centralizing worship. Ezra and the exiled priests continued the process by telling these stories and writing down the laws, all 613, with monotheism at the center. Their stories retrojectied (threw back) monotheism into the distant past. Then they presented their newly edited Torah’s as God’s word to prove monotheism’s ancient origin. The people returning to Judah from exile took them at their word, having no way of knowing any differently.

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