I'm going through a packet of readings for a discussion in Barnes' never-ending Augustine seminar tomorrow. We want to specifically examine and assess something we've been discerning through the semester and which may be something of a new direction or emphasis in Augustine scholarship, and this is the extent to which he is tied to the Roman didaskaleion. This is one of the features of ancient Christianity: a study-group gathered around a significant spiritual teacher, sometimes a clergy member, sometimes not. Origen would have been one notable example. One can also think of the group of Roman women who gathered around Jerome during Augustine's lifetime. Augustine himself had a group gathered around him that followed him from Africa to Europe and back again, and in Rome one is well-aware of the influence of Pelagius during Augustine's career.
So far I've read something alternately brilliant and perhaps a bit wacky by Peter Brown, and a set of selections of great spiritual interest by Gregory of Nyssa On Perfection, which have to do with a spirituality of "name." He is examining in some detail the implications of taking on the name of Christ--"Christian"--and how a focus and meditation on that name and the names associated with it--"the Wisdom and Power of God" (1 Cor. 1:24)--can be the roots of the formation of a powerful Christian spirituality and identity.