The International Committee of the IAHR decided at its meeting in Mexico City on August 9, 1995 that honorary life memberships can be conferred on senior scholars who have distinguished themselves through life-long service to the history of religions through their scholarship, regular participation in IAHR conferences, service as national or international officers and/or other outstanding contributions. Such memberships would help to designate the range of interests current in the IAHR and would provide a wide circle of consultants in relation to IAHR-related activities. Honorary life members would be listed on the editorial cover of Numen and receive the IAHR Bulletin free of charge.
The International Committee of the IAHR decided at its meeting in Durban on August 9, 2000 that recommendations for honorary life membership should be presented to the International Committee at its meeting during quinquennial congresses. The International Committee of the IAHR decided at its meeting in Toronto on August 18, 2010 that recommendations for honorary life membership should be presented to the International Committee at its meetings during quinquennial congresses and in between two consecutive congresses.
The procedure is as follows:
- The International Committee, at its meeting during a quinquennial congress, appoints by recommendation of the Executive Committee an Honorary Life Membership Advisory Committee consisting of three honorary life members. The Honorary Life Membership Advisory Committee is appointed for a term of five years.
- The Secretary General of the IAHR shall, one year before each meeting in the International Committee, request the IAHR constituent member societies and associations to suggest one or two names and the Executive Committee to suggest up to three names. These names will be forwarded to the Advisory Committee which will choose up to three names.
- Their recommendation shall be accompanied by brief statements of the achievements of the recommended persons. Their recommendation will be presented to the International Committee by the Secretary General of the IAHR.
- The conferment of Honorary Life Membership by the International Committee shall be reported to the General Assembly.