This contribution contains a response to the article of Vincent Geeraets included in this issue. Following the structure of Geeraets’ article this reflection consists of two parts: 1. Stories that deal with the origin of criminal law and restorative justice and 2. The perspective of the offender as someone who harms himself in the views of Duff and Claessen. In this contribution these parts are connected through the concepts ‘dialectics’ (ad 1) and ‘mysticism’ (ad 2) – i.e. concepts in which ‘Western’ respectively ‘Eastern’ Enlightenment seem to intertwine.