Are Noah, Abraham, and Moses historical figures?
Yes, they are. The Catechism treats Noah as a historical person (nos. 58, 71, 845, 1094, 1219). Ditto with his historical successors Abraham (e.g., CCC 59-64, 72) and Moses (e.g., CCC 62, 72).
Some biblical scholars and others will not accept the testimony of the ancient Hebrews, as recorded in Scripture, as satisfactory evidence that Adam and Eve, et al., really existed. They want archaeological evidence. Scripture says that Noah’s ark came to rest on “the mountains of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4). Mt. Ararat is located in modern eastern Turkey, on the border with Iran. Despite claimed citings of the ark on the mountain, critics note that no definitive proof has been provided of the ark’s existence.
Yet, the ark’s and therefore Noah’s historicity does not rise and fall on whether we find archaeological evidence of the ark. For years, some biblical scholars also doubted the historicity of King David. The Scripture skeptics were shocked in 1993, though, when archaeologists discovered definitive evidence outside of the Bible of King David’s being in Israel. They unearthed fragments from a ninth-century-B.C. monument that conveyed that the king of Damascus had scored a victory over “the House of David,” a reference to one of David’s descendants. As Tel Aviv University archaeologist Israel Finkelstein noted, “Biblical nihilism collapsed overnight with the discovery of the David inscription” (Jeffery L. Sheler, “Is the Bible True?: Extraordinary Insights from Archaeology and History,” U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 25, 1999, pp. 50-52, 56).