Dr. Grégoire Espesset

Bild von Grégoire Espesset

Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung "Schicksal, Freiheit und Prognose. Bewältigungsstrategien in Ostasien und Europa"

Home Institution: Centre de recherche sur les civilisations de l’Asie orientale, Paris (France)

IKGF Visiting Fellow November 2012 - October 2013

IKGF Research Project

Pattern Precognition in Three “Spring and Autumn” Weft Texts

Curriculum vitae

Grégoire Espesset has a PhD from the University of Paris 7/Diderot (2002) and studies Chinese ideologies and religions of the early imperial era (Later Han to early Tang). The originality of his approach to traditions, their texts, and the ways in which they interact with society, is the priority he gives over the official canons to sources that are often avoided due to their unofficial or fragmentary nature and peculiar language, such as the Great Peace Scripture (Taiping jing), which he was the first to define as a scriptural corpus rather than a text, and the fragmentary Weft (wei) materials, the so-called “Confucian apocrypha”. His publications bridge the ideological gap between the Weft hermeneutics of Han times, the quasi-millennial expectations of Great Peace, and some of the beliefs and practices of late Han religious mass movements and subsequent Taoist communities. His work on the Great Peace corpus and Dunhuang manuscripts provided the main material for his teaching at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), Section des Sciences Religieuses, Paris, while chair of “History of Taoism and Chinese Religions” (2008-2010). In Taiwan, Japan and France, he has participated in half a dozen international projects, including “Rituals, Pantheons and Techniques: A History of Chinese Religion Before the Tang”, directed by John Lagerwey (EPHE, Paris), and “the Daozang Jiyao Project”, directed by the late Monica Esposito (Kyoto University, Japan).


Institution and Location Degree Year(s) Feld of Study
Université de Provence, France Maîtrise (M.A.) 1994 Chinese Studies
Université de Provence, France D.E.A. (pre - PhD) 1996 Comparative History
Université Paris-7/Diderot, France Doctorat (PhD) 2002 Far-Eastern Studies

Positions and Honours


2003 Analyst of Sources, UMR 8582, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France
2003 - 2005 Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of History and Philology (IHP), Academia Sinica, Taiwan
2006 - 2008 Visiting Scholar, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, Japan
2008 - 2010 Substitute Lecturer and Researcher, Chair on History of Taoism and Chinese Religions, École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), Paris, France
2011 - 2012 Visiting Scholar, IHP, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Honors, Awards and Scholarships

2001 Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies, Center for Chinese Studies (Taiwan)
2001 - 2002 PhD Dissertation Fellowship, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (Taiwan)
2003 - 2005 Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, Academia Sinica (Taiwan)
2006 - 2008 Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Japan)
2011 Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies, Center for Chinese Studies (Taiwan)
2011 - 2012 Taiwan Fellowship Program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Taiwan)

Other Scientific Activities

2003 - 2005 Participant in the international project “Religion and Healing” under the directorship of Lin Fu-shih, IHP, Taiwan
2006 - 2008 Participant in the international project “The Relationship Between Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism in Medieval China” under the directorship of Mugitani Kunio, Kyoto University, Japan
2006 - 2009 Participant in the international project “Rituals, Pantheons and Techniques: A History of Chinese Religion Before the Tang” under the directorship of John Lagerwey, EPHE, Paris
Since 2010 Participant in the international project “The Daozang Jiyao Project” under the directorship of Monica Esposito, Kyoto University, Japan
Since 2010 Participant in the international project “Individuals, Human Groups and Society in Early Mediaeval China” under the directorship of François Martin, EPHE, Paris

Selected Publications

Books and Editions

  • Grand Dictionnaire Ricci de la Langue Chinoise (with other authors), edited by the Ricci Institute (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 2001)
  • The Encyclopedia of Taoism (with other authors), edited by Fabrizio Pregadio (London and New York: Routledge, 2008)


  • “The Date, Authorship and Literary Structure of the Great Peace Scripture Digest”, Journal of the American Oriental Society 133/2 (2013): 321–351.
  • “À vau-l’eau, à rebours ou l’ambivalence de la logique triadique dans l’idéologie du Taiping jing”, Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 14 (2004): 61-95.
  • “Revelation Between Orality and Writing in Early Imperial China: The Epistemology of the Taiping jing”, Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska Museet) 74 (2002; published 2004): 66-100.
  • “Criminalized Abnormality, Moral Etiology, and Redemptive Suffering in the Secondary Strata of the Taiping jing”, Asia Major (3rd series) 15/2 (2002; published 2005): 1-50.
  • “Le manuscrit Stein 4226 Taiping bu juan di er dans l’histoire du taoïsme médiéval”, in Jean-Pierre Drège with Olivier Venture (eds.), Études de Dunhuang et Turfan (Geneva: Droz, 2007), 189-256.
  • “Editing and Translating the Taiping jing and the Great Peace Textual Corpus”, Journal of Chinese Studies (Hong Kong) 48 (2008): 469-486.
  • “Latter Han religious mass movements and the early Daoist church”, in John Lagerwey and Marc Kalinowski (eds.), Early Chinese Religion, Part One: Shang through Han(1250 BC-220 AD) (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 1061-1102.
  • “Les Directives secrètes du Saint Seigneur du Livre de la Grande paix et la préservation de l’unité”, T’oung Pao 95/1-3 (2010): 1-50.