Hilman Latief was born in Tasikmalaya, West Java. He completed his basic education at the Ma’had Darul Arqam Muhammadiyah, Garut, and pursued his undergraduate studies at the State Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN) Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta (1999). He earned MA (Master of Arts) degrees from the Center for Religious and Cross Cultural Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, and from the Department of Comparative Religion, Western Michigan University-the United States of America in 2003 and 2005 respectively. He obtained Ph.D. (Philosophy of Doctor) degree from Utrecht University-the Netherlands in 2012. He was (2013) a research fellow at KITLV (The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies/Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde). In 2014, he was granted Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Arts and Sciences, Western Michigan University. He has been a faculty member for many years in the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY).
Pelantikan sebagai anggota Akademi Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (ALMI), yang merupakan bagian dari Akademi Ilmi Pengetahuan Indonesia (AIPI). Pelantikan dilakukan di Rumah B. J. Habibie sebagai pendiri AIPI.