Christianity is referred to several times in the book of Acts as "the Way" (hē hodos), initially at 9:2:
[Saul] asked [the high priest] for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way (hē hodos), men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (ESV)
See also Acts 19:9, 23; 22:4; and 24:14, 22. To my knowledge this usage is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.* I have learned from commentaries that there is an equivalent phrase (Heb. hadderek) used as self identification by the Essene Community in the Qumran literature (i.e. the non-Biblical documents from among the "Dead Sea Scrolls") that may be the origin of hē hodos. For the purposes of this question, though, I'm interested in the other side (temporally):
- Was this term used to describe the Christian movement in early (post-Biblical) church writings?
- Did any of the Fathers† opine about the origin of the label or its meaning within the community? (I'd be especially interested if they were aware of the [postulated] connection with Qumran, but that seems unlikely.)
* John 14:6 may be related, but that has some deeper Christological significance rather than the more concrete reference to a sect as it is used in Acts.
† The Greek fathers would be most relevant, although the absolute use of "the Way" is distinctive enough that it would probably be recognizable in Latin as well. ("Absolute", i.e., without further specification such as "the way of the LORD" [Is 40:3, cf. Acts 18:25].)