Judah Loew ben Bezalel, known as the Maharal, was a Rabbi in Renaissance Prague.  He studied the Bible, in particular the story in which God creates the first human out of clay.  He is said to have created his own clay statue that he brought to life, a monster called Golem.  This monster, or at least rumors of its existence, kept the Christian people of Prague from harassing the Rabbi and his fellow Jews.