Current research themes:

. Intellectual and religious history of imperial China, Late Antiquity (1st–2nd cent.) to Middle Ages (3rd-10th cent.) / Histoire des savoirs, croyances et systèmes de représentation en Chine impériale, de l’Antiquité tardive au Moyen-Âge (premier millénaire de notre ère)

. History, historiography, textual criticism, and translation of fragments of the Confucian Pseudepigraphs (the “Weft,” in Chinese: wei 緯) / Histoire, historiographie, critique textuelle et traduction de fragments des pseudépigraphes confucéens (les écrits de « trame », en chinois : wei 緯)

. Comparative epistemology of linguistic and analytical categories in classical China and the modern West / Épistémologie comparée des catégories linguistiques et analytiques de l’Occident moderne et du monde sinisé classique

. History, historiography and semiology of European-language discourse (19th–21st cent.) on religion in the Sinicised world / Histoire, historiographie et sémiologie du discours en langues européennes (du dix-neuvième siècle à nos jours) sur le fait religieux dans le monde sinisé


2020. Qualification for Professorship and Lectureship [Qualification aux fonctions de professeur des universités et maître de conférences]. France.

2019. Accreditation to Supervise Research [Habilitation à diriger des recherches]. École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France.

2002. Ph.D. [Doctorat] in East Asian Studies. Université Paris Diderot, France.

1996. Master of Advanced Studies [Diplôme d’études avancées] in Comparative History. Institut d’Histoire Comparée des Civilisations, Aix-en-Provence, France.

1994. Master Degree [Maîtrise] in Chinese Studies. Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Work Shared in CORE

Book chapters
Book reviews

Other Publications

Journal articles:

2019. “Portents in Early Imperial China: Observational Patterns from the ‘Spring and Autumn’ Weft Profoundly Immersed Herptile (Qiantan ba).” International Journal of Divination and Prognostication, 1 (2): 251-287. doi.org/10.1163/25899201-12340010

2018. “The Invention of Buddho-Taoism: Critical Historiography of a Western Neologism, 1940s–2010s.” Asiatische Studien / Études asiatiques, 72 (4): 1059-1098. doi.org/10.1515/asia-2016-0061

2016. “Sketching out Portents Classification and Logic in the Monographs of Han Official Historiography.” Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung / Bochum Yearbook of East Asian Studies, 39: 5–38. oaw.rub.de/viewer.html?file=BJOAF2016.pdf

2015. “A Case Study on the Evolution of Chinese Religious Symbols from Talismanic Paraphernalia to Taoist Liturgy.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 78 (3): 493–514. doi.org/10.1017/S0041977X15000439

2014. “Epiphanies of Sovereignty and the Rite of Jade Disc Immersion in Weft Narratives.” Early China, 37: 393–443. doi.org/10.1017/eac.2013.2

2014. “Local Resistance in Early Medieval Chinese Historiography and the Problem of Religious Overinterpretation.” The Medieval History Journal, 17 (2): 379–406. doi.org/10.1177/0971945814544827

2013. “The Date, Authorship, and Literary Structure of the Great Peace Scripture Digest.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 133 (2): 321–351. jstor.org/stable/10.7817/jameroriesoci.133.2.0321

2009. “Les Directives secrètes du Saint Seigneur du Livre de la Grande paix et la préservation de l’unité.” T’oung Pao, 95 (1–3): 1–50. jstor.org/stable/27867953

2004. “À vau-l’eau, à rebours ou l’ambivalence de la logique triadique dans l’idéologie du Taiping jing.” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie, 14: 61–95. jstor.org/stable/44160391

2002. “Criminalized Abnormality, Moral Etiology, and Redemptive Suffering in the Secondary Strata of the Taiping jing.” Asia Major, Third Series, 15 (2): 1–50. jstor.org/stable/41649864

2002. “Revelation between Orality and Writing in Early Imperial China: The Epistemology of the Taiping jing.” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 74: 66–100.

Chapters in edited volumes:

2015. “Prenatal Infancy Regained: Great Peace (Taiping) Views on Procreation and Life Cycles.” In: Transforming the Void: Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions. Edited by A. Andreeva / D. Steavu. Pages 53–86. Leiden: Brill. (Sir Henry Wellcome Asian Series, volume 16). 10.1163/9789004306523_003

2009. “Latter Han Religious Mass Movements and the Early Daoist Church.” In: Early Chinese Religion, volume 1: Shang through Han (1250 BC–220 AD). Edited by J. Lagerwey / M. Kalinowski. Pages 1061–1102. Leiden: Brill. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 4 China, volume 21/1). 10.1163/ej.9789004168350.i-1312.158

2007. “Le manuscrit Stein 4226 Taiping bu juan di er dans l’histoire du taoïsme médiéval.” In: Études de Dunhuang et Turfan. Edited by J.-P. Drège with O. Venture. Pages 189–256. Geneva: Droz. (Hautes Études Orientales, Extrême-Orient, volume 41/6).

Encyclopaedic notes:

2021. “Yuanshi shuo xiantian daode jing zhujie,” “Yuanshi tianzun shuo yaowang jiu bashiyi nan zhenjing,” “Taishang zhongdao miaofa lianhua jing,” “Taishang miaoshi jing,” “Zhenzhong jing,” “Taishang dongzhen xianmen jing,” “Zhongtian ziwei xingzhen baochan,” “Huangshi gong sushu” (in Chinese) (signed). In:《道蔵輯要・提要》. Edited by C. T. Lai. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. (Daoist Studies Series).

2020. “Sources pour l’histoire du taoïsme” (signed). In: L’Encyclopédie des historiographies (Afriques, Amériques, Asies), volume 1: Sources et genres historiques. Edited by N. Kouamé / E. P. Meyer / A. Viguier. Paris: Presses de l’INALCO.

2020. Ninety-nine biographical notes (in French) (signed). In: Dictionnaire biographique du haut Moyen Âge chinois: Culture, politique et religion de la fin des Han à la veille des Tang (IIIe–VIe siècles). Edited by F. Martin / D. Chaussende. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

2012. “Yuanshi tianzun shuo yaowang jiu bashiyi nan zhenjing,” “Taishang zhongdao miaofa lianhua jing,” “Taishang miaoshi jing,” “Zhenzhong jing,” “Taishang dongzhen xianmen jing,” “Zhongtian ziwei xingzhen baochan,” “Huangshi gong sushu” (in English) (signed). In:『道蔵輯要』と明清時代の宗教文化. Research report edited by K. Mugitani. Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University.

2008. “Bao Jing,” “Dong Sijing,” “Dongfang Shuo,” “Du Daojian,” “Nie Shidao,” “Ning Benli,” “Sun En,” “Tao Hongjing,” “Wang Wenqing,” “Yang Xi,” “Zheng Yin” (in English) (signed). In: The Encyclopedia of Taoism. Edited by F. Pregadio. London: Routledge.


2001. Four hundred and fifty entries (in French) on Taoism (unsigned). In: Grand Dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise. Edited by Les Instituts Ricci de Paris et de Taipei. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer. 7 volumes.

Review articles:

2021. “Authorial Strategies in Pursuit of the Great Book: Ruminations about a Published Dissertation on Han China.” Journal of Chinese Studies / 中國文化研究所學報, 72: 181–218. cuhk.edu.hk/ics/journal/articles/v72p181.pdf

2014. “Traditional Chinese Knowledge before the Japanese Discovery of Western Science in Gabor Lukacs’ Kaitai Shinsho & Geka Sōden.”  East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine, 40: 113–128. jstor.org/stable/eastasiascietech.40.113

2008. “Editing and Translating the Taiping Jing and the Great Peace Textual Corpus.” Journal of Chinese Studies / 中國文化研究所學報, 48: 469–486. cuhk.edu.hk/ics/journal/articles/v48p469.pdf


2017. The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Daoism (edited by J. Robson). Religious Studies Review, 43 (1): 33–37. doi.org/10.1111/rsr.12784

2016. Celestial Masters: History and Ritual in Early Daoist Communities (by T. F. Kleeman). Religious Studies Review, 42 (4): 259–265. doi.org/10.1111/rsr.12777

2016. La Fabrique du lisible: La mise en texte des manuscrits de la Chine ancienne et médiévale (edited by J.-P. Drège with C. Moretti). Religious Studies Review, 42 (2): 134–135. doi.org/10.1111/rsr.12500

2015. Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity and Chinese Culture (by Y. Tang). Religious Studies Review, 41 (4): 211–212. doi.org/10.1111/rsr.12266_4

2014. The Chenwei Riddle: Time, Stars, and Heroes in the Apocrypha (by L. Di Giacinto). T’oung Pao, 100 (4–5): 505–511. doi.org/10.1163/15685322-10045P07

2013. Affiliation and Transmission in Daoism: A Berlin Symposium (edited by F. C. Reiter). Journal of Chinese Religions, 41 (2): 180–185. doi.org/10.1179/0737769X13Z.0000000006

2012. The Emergence of Daoism: Creation of Tradition (by G. Raz). Journal of Chinese Religions, 40: 136–142. doi.org/10.1179/jcr.2012.40.1.91

2009. Making Transcendents: Ascetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China (by R. F. Campany). Études chinoises, 28: 279–284. afec-etudeschinoises.com/IMG/pdf/CR_final_21-01-10.pdf

2007. The Scripture on Great Peace: The Taiping jing and the Beginnings of Daoism (translated by B. Hendrischke). Études chinoises, 26: 327–336. afec-etudeschinoises.com/IMG/pdf/Comptes-rendus.pdf

2006. “L’itinéraire de Marco Polo dans sa traversée de la Chine” (by Ph. Ménard). Bulletin de l’École Française d’Extrême-Orient, 93: 517–522. jstor.org/stable/43734062

2002. Chinese Magical Medicine (by M. Strickmann / edited by B. Faure). Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie, Nouvelle Série, 20: 443–444. jstor.org/stable/24584554

2002. Taiping jing zhengdu 太平經正讀 (by L. Yu). Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie, Nouvelle Série, 20: 361–362. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24584446

2002. A Concordance to the Taiping jing / 太平經逐字索引 (edited by D. C. Lau). Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie, Nouvelle Série, 20: 360–361. jstor.org/stable/24584444

Seminar abstracts:

2011. “Le corpus des citations du Livre de la Grande paix du Ve au XVe siècle.” Annuaire de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des Sciences Religieuses, 118 (2009–2010): 35–43. asr.revues.org/934

2010. “Le Livre de la Grande paix et son corpus: Histoire et structure littéraires, idéologie.” Annuaire de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des Sciences Religieuses, 117 (2008–2009): 39–47. asr.revues.org/780

Academic translations (credited):

2021. Conjurer la destinée. Rétribution et délivrance dans le taoïsme médiéval (by F. Verellen). Paris: Les Belles Lettres. 422 pages. (Collection Histoire, volume 151).

2008. Chinese and Japanese sources. In: Kaitai Shinsho: The Single Most Famous Japanese Book of Medicine & Geka Sōden: An Early Very Important Manuscript on Surgery (by G. Lukacs). Utrecht: Hes & De Graaf. Chapter 11, pages 119–164.

2007. “Le début de la diffusion des techniques d’imprimerie occidentales en Chine à la fin des Qing: L’exemple de l’introduction du procédé lithographique” (by Q. Han). Histoire et Civilisation du Livre: Revue Internationale, 3: 135–152.

2006. Programme national des archives numériques 2005 (edited by D.-T. Lee). Taipei: Taiwan National Science Council. 48 pages.

2005. “Caractéristiques et fonctions du livre chinois ancien d’après les principales catégories d’ouvrages traditionnels” (by D. Xiao / H. Yang). In: Actes du Colloque franco-chinois Chine-Europe: Histoires de livres (VIIIe/XVe-XXe s.). National Library of China, Beijing. Pages 28–41.

2005. Full contents of Chinese manuscript Or.8210/S.4226 and bibliography. The International Dunhuang Project (IDP). Online: http://idp.bnf.fr/database/oo_cat.a4d?shortref=Espesset_2005&catno=1


Since 2023. “Religions de l’Asie” (A. Dalles / G. Delaplace / V. Goossaert). Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL), Paris, France.

Since 2022. “Thesaurus Linguae Sinicae (TLS): An Historical and Comparative Encyclopaedia of Chinese Conceptual Schemes” (C. Harbsmeier / S. Jiang). Kyoto University, Japan / Princeton University, USA.

Since 2022. “Religions et numérique” (C. Baills / A. Guy / K. Kovalskaya / J. Rols). Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL), Paris, France.

Since 2015. “Histoires et historiens de la Chine classique” (B. L’Haridon / D. Chaussende). Centre de Recherche sur les Civilisations de l’Asie Orientale (CRCAO), Paris, France.

Since 2012. “Fate, Freedom and Prognostication: Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe (M. Lackner). Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung (IKGF), Erlangen, Germany.

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

2024. “Western Categories, Knowledge Building, and the Scientific Value of Sinological Discourse.” University of California, Berkeley, USA. (4 April.)

2024. “Cognitive and Semiological Perspectives on European-Language Religious Categories and the Chinese Data.” University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. (10 April.)


Research Partner. Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung (IKGF), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.

Grégoire Espesset

Profile picture of Grégoire Espesset


Active 3 weeks, 4 days ago