Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

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Dr. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (born March 28, 1941 as Jeffrey Lloyd Masson in Chicago, Illinois) is an American author, residing in New Zealand. Masson is best known for his conclusions about Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis. In his book The Assault on Truth, Masson argued that Freud may have abandoned his seduction theory because he feared that granting the truth of his female patients' claims that they had been sexually abused would hinder the acceptance of his psychoanalytic methods. (Several Freud scholars have disputed the traditional story that Freud's seduction theory patients reported having been sexually abused in early childhood, the basis on which Masson built his case.)[1] He is a vegan and has written about animal rights.[2]


Life and career

Jeffrey Masson is the son of Jacques Masson, a French Mizrahi Sephardic Jew of Bukharian ancestry, and Diana (Dina) Zeiger from an Ashkenazi strict Orthodox Jewish family. Both of his parents were followers of the Jewish mystic Paul Brunton. Masson's mother later became a follower of British Jewish mystic John Levy.[3] During the 1940s and 1950s, Brunton often lived with them, eventually designating Masson as his heir apparent. In 1956, Diana and Jacques Masson moved to Uruguay because Brunton believed that a third world war was imminent. Jeffrey and his sister Linda followed in 1959.

At Brunton's urging, Masson went to Harvard University to study Sanskrit. While at Harvard, Masson became disillusioned with Brunton. Brunton and his influence on the Masson family form the subject of Masson's autobiographical book My Father's Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion. Harvard University granted Masson a B.A. in 1964 and a Ph.D. with Honors in 1970. His degrees were in Sanskrit and Indian Studies. While undertaking his Ph.D., Masson also studied, supported by fellowships, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, the University of Calcutta, and the University of Poona.

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