|editor||Richard Smoley (1990-99)|
|Categories||western esoteric tradition|
|Based in||San Francisco|
Gnosis was published by the Lumen Foundation, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization incorporated in California by Jay Kinney and Dixie Tracy-Kinney to produce educational material, including a print magazine, on the western esoteric tradition. Initial fund-raising resulted in a 5,000-copy print run of the first issue. The first issues were produced on a volunteer basis from a home office, but within three years the Lumen Foundation and Gnosis established permanent headquarters near Mission Dolores in San Francisco. In 1986, the writer Richard Smoley began contributing to the magazine and went on to become its managing editor (briefly) and then, beginning in 1990, its editor for eight years.
By 1990, Gnosis counted a circulation of 11,000, and it went on to achieve a peak circulation of 16,000. During its run, Gnosis published interviews with such significant thinkers and teachers as Huston Smith, Karen Armstrong, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Colin Wilson, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Kathleen Raine, David Steindl-Rast, Claudio Naranjo, and June Singer. Its writers and reviewers included many notable authors in the field, such as Peter Lamborn Wilson, Stephan A. Hoeller, Kabir Helminski, Roger Walsh, Jacob Needleman, Carl W. Ernst, David Fideler (founder of Phanes Press), Chas S. Clifton, Erik Davis, and John and Caitlin Matthews. Each issue usually included reviews of a dozen current books on topics of interest to Gnosis readers.
Although it was written for a general readership, Wouter Hanegraaff, professor of history of Hermetic philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam, has observed that it “contributed considerably to the setting of academic standards in a field where university chairs or curricula devoted to Western esotericism were still absent, and which at the time [in the 1980s and 1990s] was still dominated by sensationalism and plain ignorance.”
In 1998 Gnosis won Utne Reader Alternative Press Award award for "best spiritual coverage". In 1999, largely for financial reasons, Gnosis ceased publication.
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