Jeremy wrote:ἔρχεται οὖν πρὸς Σίμων Πέτρον. λέγει αὐτῷ, Κύριε, σύ μου νίπτεις τοὺς πόδας;
I was wondering about the placement of μου prior to νίπτεις. Does the Greek text grammatically move the possessive pronoun forward as a matter of emphasis? Does Peter's question, and its phrasing in Greek grammar, imply a contrast between Peter's feet and those of the other disciples? Related questions: if Peter had asked, Κύριε, σύ νίπτεις τοὺς πόδας μου; how would the question be different, or how would it be heard differently? Your thoughts?
My perspective is much simpler, but I thought I would still mention it.
First, I am sceptical about the suggestion that the genitive ἐμοῦ is by definition more emphatic than μοu. At least in the NT, the longer form occurs after prepositions, the other form elsewhere. Whether it is purely phonologically conditioned or also syntactic, I am not sure. Improper prepositions like ἐνώπιον appear to be borderline cases that can take both. Similarly, ἐμὲ occurs after prepositions with the exception of πρός which usually has just με. When not occurring after prepositions the case is rather complex and this needs further research.
Second, certain concepts are more predictable from the previous context than others. The washing of feet of all the disciples was introduced in the previous verse, so τοὺς πόδας is understandably placed in the least prominent position to the far right. It almost does not need to be mentioned that the overall topic of the paragraph is washing of feet.
Third, the pronoun σύ is very prominent, both by the fact that it is there in the first place and by its positioning in the most prominent place. Peter is surprised and finds it unacceptable that Jesus of all people should be washing the feet of the disciples.
Fourth, μου is also fronted from the normal place in its constituent, and put in the secondmost prominent position. What Greek does with word order, English does with stress, so I might indicate this by saying: Master, are YOU washing MY feet? That both pronouns are emphasized puts focus on the relationship between Jesus and Peter and puts all the other disciples off stage. Peter seems to be saying: I should be the one washing your feet, not you washing my feet.
So, I would say it is not a contrast between Peter's feet and the feet of the other disciples, but a contast between who is supposed to be the feet-washer.
If Peter had asked, Κύριε, σύ νίπτεις τοὺς πόδας μου; I think the contrast would be different. Then it would a contrast between Jesus washing Peter's feet and someone else - like a servant - washing his feet. In other words, the contrast would be between YOU and someone unspecified rather than between YOU and ME.