David Cranz (3 February 1723 - 6 June 1777) was a German theologian and missionary historian. He was born in 1723 at Naugard in Pomerania and grew up in the household of a Pietist pastor. He began to study theology at the age of 16 years at the former Frederick University of Halle and then entered the service of the Brotherhood two years later first as a redactor of the then common-news and as a writer of the Count von Zinzendorf, which he in the latter capacity also on various trips in Germany and Switzerland, accompanied to Holland and England. Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf was the founder of the faith movement and in 1761, Zinzendorf sent him to Greenland, where the Moravian had since 1733. Cranz spent a year in Greenland and dealt mainly with the transcript of the history of Greenland missions in new Herrnhut and Lichtenfels. In 1766 he became a preacher in Rixdorf near Berlin, 1771 in the community Gnadenfrei in Silesia. He died in Grace Hill/Silesia in 1777.
Apart from a 1757 published anonymously writing: "Short message from the known under the name of the Bohemian-Moravian brothers Unitas fratrum " appeared a few years later as a result of one-year stay on the spot his "history of Greenland and that mission of the brothers "2 Bde, 1765, 2nd edition 1768 and continued 1771. The work was soon after its publication translated into Dutch, English and Swedish.
Today this work is considered one of the most important historical descriptions of the traditional culture of Greenland. Especially the natural history essays, maps, and engravings that are among the best of their time and were extremely popular in Germany. Even after his return to Europe, Cranz worked as a historian, but also worked as a preacher and deacon in Rixdorf and Unitatsaltestenkonferenz. He was married and had three children.
Other works he published include: "Old and New Brothers History or Concise History of the Protestant Brotherhood-Unity", 1772, 2nd ed. 1773, likewise in Danish, English and Swedish translation. Both latter works have greatly contributed to the knowledge of the Brethren and their missionary activity in wider circles. Just as the first historical missionary publication aroused universal sympathy, the latter work served to persuade the reader of the unreasonableness of the ill-fated ideas they had hitherto borne by the brethren according to the writings of their adversaries, and of the same in another To recognize light.
Allgemeine Deutsche Biography Volume 4 (1876), p. 566