Originally posted by Nemesio
I always thought the the early OT stories (i.e., Pentateuch stuff) were the product of
two major ancient Jewish traditions that were blended together (i.e., the Yahwehists
and the Elohists) with other minor sources (Priestly ...[text shortened]... aning 'God.'
Have I misunderstood something, then?
I think you're at least partly right: I forgot about the E, J, P D stuff. Still leaves the question of where "El" came from.
YHVW does not mean "Lord." It is the name of God derived from Ehyeh asher Ehyeh (I am that I am), and possibly from a form of Havayah ("being" ). There are a number of theories, since it is very archaic Hebrew. Basically, though, it (pretty literally) means "the One who is." YH is feminine and VH is masculine (I might have them turned around, would have to check for sure) so that it contains both elements of gender.
The word for Lord is Adon or Adonai. When it became prohibited to say the Holy Name, Adonai was substituted in liturgical readings. Other words, most notably HaShem ("the name" are used non-liturgically, for example in an Orthodox Hebrew/English translation of the Tanach that I have). Whenever we see "LORD" in the English OT, it is YHVH, the name of God, in the Hebrew text.