Why should contemporary philosophers study philosophical texts of the past? Today, there are various answers to that question, but Bernard Williams was one of the first who has combined analytical and historical elements in his approach to it. Although several recent articles refer to Williams’ different remarks about the history of philosophy, his attitude has never been presented comprehensively. That desideratum will be fulfilled in this essay. In doing so, I will argue, firstly, that Williams rejects the position traditionally favoured by analytical philosophers because of his very different understanding of philosophy and, secondly, that the three different methods he suggests for studying the history of philosophy are compatible with each other.