Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
Originally a book, in the Romish church, containing the lessons that were to be read in divine service: from hence the word was applied to the histories of the lives of saints, because chapters were read out of them at matins; but as the golden legend, compiled by James de Varase, about the year 1290, contained in it several ridiculous and romantic stories, the word is now used by Protestants to signify any in credible or inauthentic narrative. Hence, as Dr. Jortin observes, we have false legends concerning the miracles of Christ, of his apostles, and of ancient Christians; and the writers of these fables had, in all probability, as good natural abilities as the disciples of Christ, and some of them wanted neither learning nor craft; and yet they betray themselves by faults against chronology, against history, against manners and customs, against morality, and against probability. A liar of this kind can never pass undiscovered; but an honest relater of truth and matter of fact is safe: he wants no artifice, and fears no examination.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Legend'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/l/legend.html. 1802.