After an M.A. in Asian languages and cultures at the University of Hamburg in 1977 and a charge of research at the Asian Institute (Hamburg, 1977-1979), Franciscus Verellen began his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford (Chinese literature, 1979-1982) and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (religions of China, 1982-1985). He graduated from the EPHE in 1985, the Ph.D. from the University of Paris VII in 1986, and the authorization to conduct research in 2000. In 2002, he was appointed Director of Studies, Chair "History of Taoism" in EFEO.
Franciscus Verellen’s field of research includes both the history of Taoism, considered in the context of Chinese religion, and secondly, the history of regional cultures in China. These two interests come together in his work on the Taoist Canon, thought Du Guangting (850-933), a major figure of Taoism in the late Middle Ages and the religious history of the Sichuan region up 'the Five Dynasties (907-960) period of profound change that led China to the modern era. Recently, he has devoted a series of studies in the social organization and the movement of heavenly masters between the Later Han (25-220) and Tang (618-907) liturgical system.
Verellen organizes and contributes to many conferences and international research programs and participates in drafting or provides leadership for several journals: Asian Arts (Paris) Aséanie (Bangkok), Bulletin of the French School of Far East (Paris) Far Asia Papers (Kyoto), Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (Madison, Wisconsin), Sanjiao wenxian / Materials for the study of Chinese religion (Paris) Faguo hanxue / French Sinology (Beijing); Daoism: Religion, History and Society (Hong Kong).He has published numerous articles and books on medieval China and Taoism, including The Taoist Canon: A Historical Companion to the Daozang, 3 volumes (University of Chicago Press, 2004, dir with K. Schipper.). The latter received the Award of the Association of North American publishers in 2005 and the Award of Excellence from the American Academy of Religions in 2007. F. Verellen is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Universal Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses and Demons, Editions du Seuil, and coordinated the contribution of the Institute of France in World Expo Shanghai 2010 as representative of the Institute to the General Commission of France Pavilion.
Former member of the Columbia Society of Fellows (Mellon Teaching Fellow, Columbia University in New York, 1987-1989), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1986-1987 Fellow at Oxford and Munich and Heidelberg from 1991 to 1992) and of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (Fellow-in-Residence at NIAS, Wassenaar, 1996-1997) studies, F. Verellen is a member of the Council of the Asiatic Society and the Scientific Council research center on Taoist culture Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as president of the French Association of Friends of the East (WAWA).
Franciscus Verellen taught the History of Chinese Religions at EPHE (1986-1987), Columbia University, New York (1987-1990), and Princeton (1990-1991). He is responsible for the creation of the new EFEO center in Taipei, where he assumed the leadership from 1992 to 1995. Between 1995 and 1997, he was posted to Paris and provided new lessons in EPHE. In 1997-1998, he taught as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. During the periods 1998-1999 and 2001-2004, he headed the central EFEO Hong Kong and taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Between 2000 and 2004, he was responsible for the team EFEO "History and Anthropology of the Chinese world."
In 2004, Verellen was appointed director of the French School of the Far East as well as Honorary Professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, then in 2005 "Stewart Fellow" Humanities at Princeton University and 2006 Honorary Professor at the Department of Religious and Cultural Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2007, he took the initiative to found the European Consortium for Research on Land in Asia (European Consortium for Asian Field Study, FABS), where he coordinates as Chairman of the Steering Committee. Verellen was elected to the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres in 2008. In 2009, he was appointed a life member of the Institute of Chinese Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong ( ICS Fellow ), member of the Advisory Board of the latter and a member of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies.