Bible Review 1:3, Fall 1985

On Rereading the “Kid in Milk” Inscription

Two “lowly” epigraphers speak out

By Robert J. RatnerBruce E. Zuckerman

Jacob Milgrom has presented an excellent overall evaluation of the problems posed by the passage in the Ugaritic text (see “You Shall Not Boil a Kid in Its Mother’s Milk”), commonly called “The Birth of the Gracious and Beautiful Gods.” This text has so often been connected to the biblical prohibition against boiling a kid in its mother’s milk. We would like to add a different viewpoint—not the perspective of the philologist, who must try to determine what a text says, that is, how the words and phrases are to be understood; nor of the higher critic who must try to figure out what a text means, that is, how the text as a whole fits into the larger religious, cultural and literary milieu; but rather an interpretation from the standpoint of the lowly epigrapher.

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