I have a lovely postcard which I bought when I was a keen little boy very interested in Science. It came from the Natural History Museum, and showed the skull which is the final glorious proof that Men are descended from Apes; the long awaited proof of Darwinianism: Eoanthopus Dawsonii, AKA the Piltdown Man, AKA the Great Hoax. If I had time to waste being childish, I'd pin it up with a picture beside it of the mighty Dawkins.
Liturgy has its Piltdown Man; the Liturgy of Hippolytus. Actually, I'm not being quite fair; Piltdown Man was a deliberate forgery; an attempt to prove a dogma for which genuine evidence was unkindly shy to show itself. Hippolytus is no forgery, but a genuine first millennium liturgical text.
But, everone now agrees, it is not by Hippolytus, nor was it a very early liturgy of the Roman Church. And Professor Paul Bradshaw has shown good reason the think that it is not nearly as early as had been assumed. Yet this text dominated the Committee-Liturgy reconstructions of the twentieth century. It provided the basis of the Eucharistic Prayer which is by far the most commonly used in the RC Church: Prayer 2. It was the model of the drafts which started to be considered in the Church of England in the late 1960s.
Gregory Dix was among the many taken in by it; although he was too fly to swallow the idea that really early liturgy had an Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit after the Institution Narrative (he concluded that this must be an interpolation into 'Hippolytus' dating from the fourth century, when notions of Epiclesis became popular in the East).
Hippolytus' became real politics in the C of E in 1965. The Liturgical Commission offered a draft Eucharistic Prayer which ran "Wherefore ... we offer unto thee this bread and this cup; and we pray thee to accept this our duty and service in the presence of thy divine majesty (note the echoes of the Canon: ... offerimus ... panem ... calicem ... hanc ... oblationem servitutis nostrae ... ... in conspectu divinae maietatis tuae ...). A year later they offered the explanation "this need mean no more than 'we put this bread and this cup at God's disposal', so that he may use them to feed those who receive in faith. It can, of course, be interpreted to mean something else; but it does not assert the fully developed doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It confines itself to the simple language of the first two centuries ... Hippolytus ... Irenaeus ... Justin ... Clement ... The use of the phrase is in line with the Anglican appeal to antiquity". But a tiny 'note of dissent' followed from one Colin Buchanan: "I reluctantly dissent ... Inquiry has shown that the phrase ... is unacceptable to many Anglicans".
In the decades which followed, Buchanan's eagle eye relentlessly spotted and vetoed (through the Evangelical block vote in Synods) any phrase expressive of the Eucharistic Sacrifice; not because he didn't want evangelicals to have phrases they dislike forced upon them - he just couldn't stand the thought that in a long list of alternatives, there might be just one on the menu which Catholics could use with a good conscience. He is still going strong and wrote a couple of articles early this year about the iniquities of those who use 'Melchizedek' talk (or use 'Melchizedek' Canons). I'm afraid I was one of his targets.
The poor bloke would go apoplectic if anybody pointed this out to him, but the main fruit of his long active life has been the unwillingness of Anglican Catholics to use Eucharistic prayers authorised by the Church of England. In the debate about the 1965 draft, an Anglo-Catholic representative from the diocese of Exeter, a plain spoken General, told the truth: "Many priests will not use this present service, and what could be more divisive than that?" How right he was.
Even 'Non-Conformist' churches use 'offer' language nowadays; after all, it is based on a diachronic and synchronic ecumenical consensus. But not Buchanan's C of E.