Eric Eve argues that the story of a blind man healed by Jesus’ spit in Mark’s Gospel has a some connection with the Vespasian story in regards to the messiahship of Jesus and the Roman imperial “messianism.” Vespasian’s story is distinctive in that:

The healings carried out by Vespasian seem designed to demonstrate the close association between the new emperor and the god. Healing was one of the powers long attributed to Sarapis, and the first healing miracle to be attributed to him was restoring sight to a blind man, one Demtrius of Phaleron, an Athenian politician. Vespasian’s use of his foot to effect the other healing, whether by standing on the man’s hand (as in Tacitus) or touching the man’s leg with his heel (as in Suetonius) should be understood in light of the fact that a foot could be seen as a symbol of Sarapis.

Source: Eric Eve, “Spit in Your Eye: The Blind Man of Bethsaida and the Blind Man of Alexandria,” NTS 54, no. 1 (January 2008).

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