Cleopas' name is an abbreviated form of Cleopatros, a common Hellenistic name meaning "son of a renowned father". Cleopas is remembered on 25th November in the Martyrology of the Roman Catholic Church.
Account in the Gospel of Luke
This occurs two days after the crucifixion, on the day of Jesus' resurrection. The two have heard the tomb of Jesus was found empty earlier that day. They are discussing the events of the past few days when a stranger asks them what they are discussing. "Their eyes were kept from recognizing him." He soon rebukes them for their unbelief and gives them a Bible study on prophecies about the Messiah. They ask the stranger to join them for the evening meal. When he breaks the bread "their eyes were opened" and they recognize him as the resurrected Jesus. Jesus immediately vanishes.
Cleopas and his friend hasten back to Jerusalem to carry the news to the other disciples, and learn Jesus has also appeared to them as well. A similar event is mentioned in the longer ending of Mark: the incident is without parallel in the gospels of Matthew and John.
Cleopas has no further occurrence in the New Testament, but in tradition he has often been identified with Clopas, another New Testament figure.
Identification with Simon Peter
A theory has been put forward, that "Cleopas" would originally have been "Cephas". Cephas was a Greek form of Simon Peter's Aramaic name "Kêfâ", meaning "rock", which appears once in the Gospel of John and many times in the Epistles of Apostle Paul, but never in the Gospel of Luke, which uses the Greek translation of the name, Petros. Thus, while incorporating the Emmaus story to this Gospel, the Gospel's Greek speaking author may have misunderstood the grecified Aramaic name and replaced it with the closest Greek name known to him.
Cleopas and Simon being the same person would also explain the sudden comment atstating that Jesus had appeared to Simon.
In reference to the above statement regarding the author of the book of Luke's supposed transliteration of the name of Cleopas for Cephas, it should be noted that the spelling of the name Cephas as "Κηφας" in Greek (John 1:42) looks quite dissimilar from the spelling of the name of Cleopas as "Κλεόπα" in the Greek (Luke 24:18).
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- Catholic Encyclopedia: Cleophas
- Judas The Galilean: The Flesh And Blood Jesus by Daniel T. Unterbrink. Iuniverse 2004. ISBN: 0595321976