Abraham – Regarded as the father of the Jewish people; it is believed God made a covenant with him, promising him land and descendants
He was able to branch out and hammer (Abraham) a new race into shape after his agreement with God – a Jewish race.
The book of Genesis (which is included in the Jewish Torah and the Old Testament of the Bible) tells us that Abraham was called by God to leave his home town of Ur in Mesopotamia and found a new nation in the land of Canaan.
The Genesis account says God asked Abraham to sacrifice his young son, Isaac – but God intervened at the last moment, telling Abraham it was a test of his faith, and that he had passed the test.
Apart from founding the Jewish race and faith, Abraham is credited by many with introducing monotheism – the belief that there is only one, true God.
Until Abraham's time – which was nearly 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus – people in the Middle East had worshipped a range of gods that served different purposes.
Ironically, Abraham's own father, Terach, made his living selling idols of various gods.
The book of Genesis claims Abraham was 100 years old when he fathered Isaac and 175 when he died.
Perhaps even more startling, Abraham's wife, Sarah, is claimed to have been 90 when she gave birth to Isaac, having been childless up until then. This was considered to be a miracle and Genesis puts a great deal of emphasis on the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child.