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The details of the property path expressions is something the WG has been working on recently and there are changes in the specification since the last published working draft in response to comments from the community and from discussions with the working group. You can see the changes in the editors' draft at

The path evaluation has changed recently to make it in-line with the decisions of the SPARQL-WG as the WG works through the exact specification of property paths.

For both queries:

SELECT * WHERE { :a (:p+) ?x }
SELECT * WHERE { :a :p/(:p*) ?x }

the results would be:

| x  |
| :b |
| :c |
| :a |

The expression (:p+)+ is not equivalent in terms of cardinality of the elements although it should return the same elements. SELECT DISTINCT may be useful.

We would be grateful if you would acknowledge that your comment has been answered by sending a reply to this mailing list.

Andy, on behalf of the SPARQL-WG